Entrepreneurs learn, engage, collaborate during GEW Penn State

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Penn State, presented by the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted a total of 52 events across Penn State campus communities from Nov. 8-12. Seven more will occur in the coming weeks, bringing the grand total to 59 events.

Events were held via online, in-person, and hybrid formats, connecting community members and entrepreneurs with Penn State’s vibrant ecosystem of investors, researchers and startup champions.

“From networking events to speakers and panels, GEW Penn State showcased the variety of entrepreneurial resources available to students, faculty, staff and community members,” said Tim Keohane, director of Penn State SBDC. “Events provided actionable advice covering a multitude of entrepreneurial topics, such as customer discovery and influencer marketing, which will help aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs advance their startups, businesses and innovations.”

GEW Penn State partnered with Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics for an event surrounding influencer marketing titled “Making Your Mark: Maximizing the Impact of Your Brand.” The panel featured emerging influencers and marketing professionals who shared how entrepreneurs and businesses can apply influencer marketing tactics to launch and grow their brands.

Another event, titled “The First Steps to Small Business Success,” provided an overview of what it takes to start and run a business. Hosted in partnership with Pennsylvania College of Technology and SCORE mentors of Central PA, the seminar featured small business experts who shared the key aspects of starting a business, such as building business structures and developing a business plan.

In addition to expert panels and speakers, GEW Penn State featured competitions for Penn State students. The Cardboard Challenge, presented by Penn State’s Engineering Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with the Women in Engineering Program, Multicultural Engineering Program, Clark Scholars Program, and Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank, invited student engineers to innovate the vending machine by building life-sized, cardboard prototypes in under two hours. Taking home a cardboard trophy, the winning team was comprised of College of Engineering students Jessi Altiero, Tyler Hazlett, Emmanuel Hernandez, and Reynaldo Orpinel.

“The Engineering Entrepreneurship Program created this event to provide College of Engineering students an opportunity to be creative, be innovative, and have fun,” Director of Engineering Entrepreneurship Ted Graef said. “While doing this, they also practiced their teamwork, design, and pitching skills, which are key attributes of entrepreneurs.”

The first-ever Cardboard Challenge was made possible with help from Graef; Lauren Griggs, director, Multicultural Engineering Program and director, Clark Scholars Program; Cheryl Knobloch, senior director, Women in Engineering Program; Lee Erickson, Jack White Family Director at Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank; and Brad Groznik, adjunct instructor.

In addition to events at University Park, GEW Penn State events were hosted across the Invent Penn State LaunchBox & Innovation Hub Network and Penn State campuses. These events included:

Watch the following events, including Making Your Mark: Maximizing the Impact of Your Brand and The First Steps to Small Business Success, on GEW Penn State YouTube:

About the Penn State SBDC

Funding support and resources are provided through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration; by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Community & Economic Development; and in part through support from Penn State and with assistance from Lock Haven University. All services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. SBDC services are not available to individuals or entities that have been debarred or suspended by the federal government.

SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are nearly 1,000 local centers available to provide no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. The Penn State SBDC services Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, and Mifflin counties in central Pennsylvania.

About Invent Penn State

Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and university-community-industry collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind.


Christin Hakim

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