Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Partnership Awards Betaburgh Grants to 4 Eclectic Projects

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Partnership Awards Betaburgh Grants to 4 Eclectic Projects

Article excerpt

A 20-foot shipping container capable of growing 400 pounds of lettuce a month. A solar-powered art installation that doubles as a free charging station for mobile devices. And the means to turn your cell phone into a musical instrument for a lunchtime jam.

They are among four projects selected by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to receive $10,000 BetaBurgh grants, a new initiative designed to give local startups an outlet for their creative juices, while making the Golden Triangle just a little more happenin'.

"The projects will entertain and educate while bringing new energy and activity to Downtown, while supporting startups in the development of their business," said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the PDP, which announced the winners at the partnership's annual meeting Tuesday.

Also at the meeting, Mayor Bill Peduto outlined his vision for making Smithfield Street the next big retail center Downtown.

BetaBurgh is one of two new initiatives being undertaken by the partnership to tap into the city's rising tech sector and the efforts to make Pittsburgh more sustainable.

The other, called Re:NEW Festival, will run for a month from Sept. 9 to Oct. 9. Celebrating creative reuse, transformation and sustainability, the festival will feature art, music, performances, films, and other events. The highlight will be the U.S. premiere of Drap-Art, the international festival of recycling art held annually in Barcelona, Spain.

BetaBurgh was designed to give startups, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and small businesses a chance to pitch and test products or services to pedestrians while activating spaces Downtown.

One of the winners, the Aquaponics Project, will renovate a 20- foot shipping container to house a sustainable aquaponics ecosystem that will be able to produce up to 400 pounds of lettuce a month and 300 pounds of freshwater fish. …

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