Where do entrepreneurs work smart and live happy?
Pennsylvania is a place where entrepreneurs and business owners flourish and succeed — and State College’s recent ranking as one of Entrepreneur magazine’s “Top 15 Best U.S. Cities for Entrepreneurs to Live and Launch” confirms just that. Listed among other innovation hotbeds, including Boulder, Minneapolis, and Ann Arbor, State College boasts an 18 percent business growth rate, is home to Pennsylvania’s largest university, Penn State, and is supported by various programs in the region such as the Ben Franklin TechCelerator @State College.
Penn State offers a healthy and robust entrepreneur ecosystem, stemming in part from its degree offerings like Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Another support is the “Invent Penn State” initiative, launched in 2015 to help innovators succeed at each stage of the entrepreneurial path. Leveraging Penn State’s size, scope, and research strengths, Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success, with a focus on bringing intellectual properties to the marketplace. Penn State President Eric Barron has committed $30 million to this program, opening 13 entrepreneurship centers in the initiative’s first year. And this is just the beginning — I can’t wait to see its lasting economic impact across Pennsylvania.
Further adding the State College’s entrepreneur ecosystem the Governor’s Action Team recently worked with Morgan Advanced Materials, a UK-based leader in engineered carbon and ceramic materials, to announce a partnership with Penn State that will establish The Carbon Science Center of Excellence (COE). This site is the first of its kind in the U.S. that will serve as a new research and development center focused on driving developments in the field of carbon research. Housed at Penn State’s Innovation Park, the Carbon Science Center of Excellence will support and cultivate the innovative efforts of both Morgan and Penn State for years to come.
While State College and Penn State have found success in the center of our state, I’m proud to say this is only one example of many strong university-industry collaborations in Pennsylvania. Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network recently awarded Lehigh University in the Lehigh Valley a $200,000 grant to inspire and encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in undergraduate engineering students, with an end goal of benefiting society. In South Central Pennsylvania, Dickinson College runs “The Idea Fund”, a student-led incubator that provides seed money to students to help them jumpstart change in their communities. And in the Southwestern part of the state, Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship has helped greenlight more than 1,000 companies across a variety of industries.
Pennsylvania’s support for entrepreneurs goes far beyond our colleges and universities. My agency, the Department of Community and Economic Development, offers an extensive and experienced network that can provide assistance at each step of the entrepreneurial journey:
- Our Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop provides free, practical advice, and services as the first stop for individuals who have new business ideas.
- The Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance partners are our boots on the ground; they help companies start, grow, and prosper in their local communities.
- For entrepreneurs looking to break into new international markets, our Office of International Business Development is an excellent resource.
- Tech companies will find funding and technical expertise from our Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
- Our Entrepreneur’s Guide is a comprehensive roadmap offering guidance on everything from business names to growth strategies.
- Last, but certainly not least, even entrepreneurs need some down time to relax, recharge, pursue their hobbies (or explore new ones!). Here in Pennsylvania, they can find an unparalleled mix of urban, historic, and outdoor adventures awaiting them. It truly is a wonderful place to work smart and live happy.
All corners of our state offer vibrant communities and business assistance resources that are ready to bring your big idea to life. Learn how our talent can be the building blocks of your future. Check out our business assistance page for more information on the resources available to you, and follow us on Twitter (@PADCEDnews) for funding, grant announcements, and all Pennsylvania news.
Dennis M. Davin was appointed to serve as Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development in January 2015 by Governor Tom Wolf.
Prior to his appointment, Secretary Davin served for more than a decade as Director of the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development (ACED), where he was responsible for establishing and executing the economic development strategy for Allegheny County.