State Senator John Yudichak (I-14) and the Senate Committee on Community, Economic and Recreational Development held a hearing Tuesday on the Invent Penn State program.
The six-year-old initiative, which has expanded to 21 locations statewide, encourages entrepreneurial ingenuity by helping businesses grow and get started.
In total, the program has enabled the creation of nearly 5,000 entrepreneurs from nearly 220 new businesses, as well as the creation of more than 300 jobs and nearly 500 internships.
Called LaunchBox or Innovation Hubs, the facilities offer free services to everyone. An estimated 96% of Pennsylvanians have a LaunchBox or hub within 30 miles of where they live or work, said representatives for Yudichak, chairman of the committee.
“Invent Penn State inspires the entrepreneurial spirit of aspiring business leaders to bring innovative new products to market and create entirely new business ecosystems in communities across Pennsylvania,” said Yudichak. “The Hazleton LaunchBox and Wilkes-Barre Idea Hub, powered by Penn State ingenuity, are vital economic assets that hold promise for 21st century jobs for northeastern Pennsylvania. “
The hearing, “Improving Pennsylvania’s Innovation Economy – Inventing Penn State,” heard testimony from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) President Eric Barron, President of the Chamber of Commerce from Greater Philadelphia, Rob Wonderling, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Progress of Downtown Hazleton, Krista Schneider, Mayor of McKeesport, Michael. Cherepko and Dr. Nina Jenkins, Founder of Condidio Tec LLC, among others.
Designed to accelerate the movement of business concepts into the marketplace and to have an impact on the state’s economic development, the $ 30 million initiative is complemented by an annual additional $ 3 million of PSU to the effort. .
“We have taken a comprehensive, end-to-end approach to economic development,” said Barron. “We start with entrepreneurial training opportunities and then create the path to bring the ideas to market. This involves attracting funding, providing mentorship and legal support, and fostering partnerships to make investment possible. Watching our graduates start and grow Pennsylvania-based businesses has been very rewarding. “