DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Worthington Scranton has received a $50,000 Invent Penn State grant to establish a pre-incubator in the city of Scranton’s South Side as part of an ongoing neighborhood revitalization effort, Chancellor Marwan A. Wafa, announced today (June 8).
The campus will establish a technology-rich, welcoming entrepreneurial environment and provide educational and technical support for aspiring entrepreneurs; help launch new, innovative businesses; and facilitate networking opportunities for faculty, professionals and students who are passionate about building a vibrant downtown community.
The pre-incubator will be located in a fully remodeled floor of the People’s Security Bank building. In addition to the Invent Penn State funding, Penn State Worthington Scranton has also received support funding from Peoples Security Bank and is working with United Neighborhood Centers.
This new pre-incubator will be part of UNC’s Elm Street Revitalization Project. Campus project leaders envision a technology-rich, welcoming environment that offers large and small meeting areas; offices and equipment that will support launching innovative ideas into new businesses; educational and technical support for aspiring entrepreneurs; and networking opportunities for faculty, professionals and students who are passionate about building a vibrant downtown community.
Moreover, Penn State Worthington Scranton will have high-traffic visibility in the community through outdoor signage and presence, which has never been done before in this area.
“With this project, we have developed core strategies to implement pre-incubator services that will ultimately help create an urban entrepreneurship ecosystem that will support and stimulate the long-term economic development of Scranton and the region,” Wafa said.
“One of the best ways to combat poverty and promote community revitalization is to create new economic opportunities in a community that will bolster the local economy,” he explained. “And one of the best ways to create these new opportunities is through entrepreneurship, which promotes the growth of new, locally owned businesses and jobs.”
Penn State Worthington Scranton has been working to create a culture of entrepreneurship on campus. This is already being accomplished through engaged scholarship activities in various classes and through internships that engage students in real world learning opportunities.
The newly formed Center for Business Development and Community Outreach at Penn State Worthington Scranton is a regional resource for individuals, businesses, community organizations, entrepreneurs, and campus students by serving as a bridge to the University’s vast resources.
“We will be working with entrepreneurs to get them the guidance and support that they need while enhancing our degree students’ learning experiences by having the students assist our support team,” said John Drake, center director.
Other community partners on this project include Women in Philanthropy, Scranton Area Community Foundation, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center, and Northeast Pennsylvania SCORE.
Grant team members include: Fred Aebli, co-program coordinator/instructor/internship coordinator, IST; John Drake, director of the Center for Business Development and Community Outreach; Sue Fitch-Proctor, workforce development and outreach specialist, Center for Business Development and Community Outreach; James Frese, program coordinator/instructor business administration; Deborah Brandt Johnson, alumni and development specialist; Frank Sorokach, instructor/internship coordinator, business administration; Dr. Marwan Wafa, PSWS chancellor.
Invent Penn State is a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success. Launched in 2015 by Penn State President Dr. Eric Barron, Invent Penn State is a coordinated effort to create a University environment that welcomes and encourages entrepreneurship.
Invent Penn State leverages Penn State’s research, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit in collaboration amongst industry, entrepreneurs and academia to develop products and services that will benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind.