As far as innovation goes, Pittsburgh has many lessons to teach the world. Once the center of the American steel industry, the second-largest city in Pennsylvania has transformed its economy and emerged as a hotbed of innovation, particularly in high-value manufacturing, climate tech and technology, including robotics and artificial intelligence.
Coordinating the economic development of a 10-county region, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance works closely with existing businesses and potential investors worldwide looking for new markets; provides introductions to tax incentives, programs and credits in support of economic and community development; identifies real estate options for establishing or growing a business; and helps to maintain a robust pipeline of talent to support every aspect of businesses’ operations.
Home to some of the best colleges, universities and research facilities in the United States, including tier-one research universities like Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, the region has built a solid reputation in computer science, as well as the life sciences and health care, in addition to its leadership in robotics.
Among its development initiatives is Robotics Row, a three-mile stretch that extends from near the city center through the historic Strip District, once a center for manufacturing and warehousing. Today, Robotics Row is an integral part of the regional robotics ecosystem that is some 100 companies strong.
Included in the area are leading players such as Astrobotic, Aurora, Caterpillar, Carnegie Robotics, Seegrid and Smith+Nephew. The PRA believes that Pittsburgh’s comparative advantage in deep technology, particularly robotics and artificial intelligence, will attract attention and draw investment from Japan.
“In our understanding of Japanese culture surrounding business and innovation, we know that in Japan, there is a lot of capital and organizational capacity that will be advantageous to startups and innovation-focused companies in the United States. There’s a natural marriage between our cultures. The driving ethos of the Japanese approach towards innovation meshes quite well with our culture in Pittsburgh and what we excel at in our region,” said PRA President Mark Anthony Thomas.