As part of its Invent Penn State initiative, the University today announced four new seed grants, each valued at $50,000, designed to bolster entrepreneurship and economic development in communities surrounding Penn State campuses across the commonwealth.
Penn State Beaver is one of the recipients.
With today’s announcement, the University’s effort has grown to include 21 hubs for innovation spread across Pennsylvania – an undertaking that was introduced by Penn State President Eric J. Barron just two and a half years ago.
“As a major public research university, we are committed to empowering entrepreneurs and providing the tools to take great ideas to the next level,” said Barron. “Penn State is uniquely positioned with its commonwealth campuses for each Innovation Hub to have a meaningful impact on student career success and to become a vital part of the Pennsylvania ecosystem, driving local economies and job creation.”
In addition to Beaver, this year’s grant recipients include the following Penn State campuses: DuBois, Greater Allegheny and Hazleton. The 21 innovation hubs and programs across the state use partnerships with local community organizations and local industry to meet the needs of their unique business startup ecosystem. Through a competitive process, the winning grant proposals include varying combinations of training, mentorship and space to improve entrepreneurial leadership and spur economic development. The programs and services of each center are available free of charge to Penn State students and faculty, as well as community members who are not directly affiliated with Penn State.
"Penn State Beaver is thrilled to be a part of the University's statewide effort to promote and support entrepreneurship in our communities," Beaver Chancellor Jenifer Cushman said. "Beaver County is on the cusp of dramatic economic change, and this grant puts our campus in a position to help power and drive that change."
Even with only five of the 21 innovation hubs open for the full first year, results demonstrate Penn State’s re-envisioned land-grant mission to support economic development, job creation and student career success.
- More than 2,500 faculty, staff and students engaged in entrepreneurial activity;
- 100s of community entrepreneurs were supported;
- 80 new products were developed;
- 79 startups were launched; and
- 110 student internships were created.
Penn State Beaver has been working with government and industry in the region to lay the foundation for a hub that will help to drive local innovation and entrepreneurship, and could include a business incubator and co-working space. Already, the campus has established an advisory group that links local businesses with faculty and students who can provide technical expertise and mentorship.
“We are building momentum in establishing a culture where entrepreneurialism is embedded into who we are as an institution, especially for our students,” added Barron. “We believe that if we remove obstacles that stand in the way of launching new businesses, we open up endless opportunities to thrive.”