August 2, 2016
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – State College has been named one of the “15 Best U.S. Cities for Entrepreneurs to Live and Launch” by Entrepreneur magazine, citing the town’s “promising unemployment rate and business growth rate” and proximity to Penn State’s University Park campus.
Entrepreneur partnered with Livability.com, an organization that analyzes small and midsize cities, to consider the best places to launch a business and where entrepreneurs receive outstanding support by the community.
Penn State recently redoubled its commitment to entrepreneurship when it launched Invent Penn State, President Eric Barron’s initiative to drive job creation, economic development and student career success throughout the Commonwealth, in January 2015. The initiative has launched 13 entrepreneurship centers in its first year, including Happy Valley LaunchBox in downtown State College. This new hub for innovation is hosting 20 companies this summer, with free access to space, consultation on legal and intellectual property matters, 10 weeks of business training, and mentorship from community entrepreneurs and Penn State faculty and staff. Any entrepreneur can walk in for assistance Monday through Friday during business hours.
“Supporting and nurturing entrepreneurship is a central tenet of Invent Penn State,” said Vice President for Research Neil A. Sharkey, who is overseeing the creation of the initiative’s programs. “It’s gratifying to see this independent confirmation of the success early in our town-gown collaboration, and it demonstrates the power of that partnership.”
In addition, Penn State students in any discipline can minor in entrepreneurship and receive support from organizations such as InnoBlue and the Farrel Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Last year Penn State’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, which provides resources for students, was ranked No. 1 in the nation (this year’s event will be held Nov. 13-18). The University also hosts events for student entrepreneurs like Hack PSU and IST Startup Week.
Most recently the Invent Penn State initiative has worked with campus and community to develop the Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference, which will be held Oct. 6-7. The conference will showcase groundbreaking innovations, intellectual property, start-ups, and technology companies from sectors including life sciences, agriculture, energy, materials, advanced manufacturing, educational technology, communications, and more.
“Supporting and nurturing entrepreneurship is a central tenet of Invent Penn State.”
— Neil A. Sharkey, vice president for research at Penn State
These programs join a plethora of community and University organizations and collaborations that support entrepreneurs in the State College community, including New Leaf Initiative, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the TechCelerator, the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County, the Penn State Small Business Development Center, CREN, Innovation Park at Penn State and several business incubation sites. These organizations work hand-in-hand with the State College Borough Council and managers, township managers and county commissioners to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurship.
State College also is home to a number of startup companies, among them Minitab, AccuWeather, Restek, Videon, Sound Technology, Salimetrics, and Supelco.