About this guide

About this guide

Innovation Works is committed to growing and supporting the entrepreneurial community in Western Pennsylvania. We recognize that while great startup ideas can come from founders in a wide variety of backgrounds, there's more to starting a company than just the idea. This guide is a "how to" companion focused primarily on the earliest stages of the entrepreneurial journey, from concept to Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Because many early-stage founders, especially from under-represented demographics, lack access to funding sources, these Recipes offer options for founders who have time to dedicate to a startup but not necessarily capital. We especially hope this guide is helpful to founders from underrepresented backgrounds or who live in more rural communities. Even if you're a repeat founder, already have your startup launched, are bootstrapping, developing a side project, or just exploring your options, there's plenty of value in the Recipes here.

In each Recipe you'll find a walkthrough of the critical factors to consider in a specific step of the startup formation process, along with instructions for how to use a DIY tool to accomplish the task. Each Recipe provides links and first-year costs for the tools and documents listed, so you always have some idea of what funding you'll need to complete it.

Along with the Recipes, this guide has a curated list of tools, documents, videos, and best practices articles that you can use as part of your entrepreneurial journey.

Did we miss anything? Is there a task that we missed, or are any of these recipes giving bad advice? Was this guide helpful? Would you like to contribute? If you want to get involved in the project or have input that you'd like to share directly, there is information on the site about how you can get involved.