Alvernia University and SCORE Berks Schuylkill Chapter partner to become a leading source of education and mentoring for local small business owners and their associates for the southeastern Pennsylvania region. The new partnership offers entrepreneurs total support throughout various stages of the start-up or growth journeys, advancing the economic climate in the region.
“We are uncovering every opportunity possible to breathe new life into the downtown Reading economy, while creating experiential learning opportunities not only for students and faculty, but also for startups and growing businesses,” said Alvernia President John R. Loyack.
Key to the Alvernia/SCORE partnership will be the establishment of an Alvernia University Technology Transfer Office, an Office of Industry and Community Outreach and the student-powered business incubator in the university’s newly rebranded O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.
“Alvernia’s collaboration with SCORE strengthens and expands the experiential learning opportunities for students who will receive training and guidance from SCORE mentors,” said Dr. Rodney Ridley, associate provost and vice president and chief operating officer for the O’Pake Institute. “Powered by O’Pake, the student business incubator will operate in collaboration with SCORE, thus enriching the student experience” Ridley added.
The announcement comes on the heels of Alvernia’s December unveiling of Reading CollegeTowne, a strategic model for economic development in downtown. Alvernia is finalizing a sale and purchase agreement for the property at 401 Penn Street, where it will expand its academic programs, student housing and community engagement. The downtown location also is where the new Alvernia/SCORE partnership will operate.
“We are excited and looking forward to this collaborative effort as we continue to serve the communities in which we live,” said Pete Kostick, chair of the local 37-member SCORE Berks Schuylkill Chapter.
Founded as a resource for the Small Business Administration in 1964, SCORE is a national organization, based in Herndon, Virginia. With more than 10,000 volunteers in over 300 chapters throughout the U.S., SCORE provides mentoring to small businesses during the start-up and growth processes as they endeavor to establish and maintain stability and profitability.
The Berks Schuylkill Chapter, originally chartered as the Reading Chapter in 1964, was SCORE’s eighth chapter. It now includes the two-county area and is based in Reading. In fiscal year 2019, ending in September, the chapter provided 390 mentoring sessions and 47 local workshops to support entrepreneurs in the community to start and grow their businesses.