Additional $200,000 in Grants awarded to drive local economic development and bolster entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania
University Park, Pa. – As part of its Invent Penn State initiative, Penn State 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. With today’s announcement, the University’s effort has grown to include 21 hubs for innovation spread across Pennsylvania including Berks – an undertaking that was introduced by 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 Eric J. Barron, president. “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.”
This year’s grant recipients include the following Penn State campuses: Beaver, 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 or program are available free of charge to Penn State students and faculty, as well as community members who are not directly affiliated with Penn State.
“We want to promote entrepreneurship and spur creativity and job creation in the city [of Reading],” said Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk at the dedication of the Langan LaunchBox in Reading. “Our faculty and students have embraced this initiative, as have our St. Joseph’s colleagues.”
Even with only 5 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.
2500+ faculty, staff and students engaged in entrepreneurial activity100s of community entrepreneurs were supported80 new products were developed79 startups were launched110 student internships were created.
“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.”
Two student entrepreneurs from Penn State Berks were recently invited to make a presentation on their startup company to Penn State President Eric Barron at Schreyer House for the president’s annual football tailgate event. Junior Business major Ryan Morris, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, and sophomore Information Sciences and Technology major Tristan Morales, chief technology officer, presented Traduki Technologies, a tech startup that provides real-time language translation services for health care professionals and businesses. “This was a great networking experience and much-needed exposure for the company,” said Morris.
“Penn State does a great job with providing opportunities for young entrepreneurs,” added Morales. The concept for Traduki was first developed as a class project in the Entrepreneurial Mindset course in the fall of 2016 at Penn State Berks. The instructor, Dr. Abdullah Konak, encouraged the group to further pursue the business idea because he saw the value it could bring to the community. Konak and Dr. Sadan Kulturel Konak have continued to mentor the team after the conclusion of the course.