Penn State started out as a land-grant school to provide an ag education to children of farmers and working families all over Pennsylvania. It’s never lost sight of entrepreneurial-minded Pennsylvanians, people who put their own sweat equity into building businesses from the ground up. Over the last decade, that focus on entrepreneurialism has deepened as the university leveraged its infrastructure, expertise and research profile to help bring Penn Staters’ intellectual property to the marketplace. The results speak for themselves.
The year Invent Penn State was launched to leverage the university’s strengths, namely infrastructure, expertise and research, to help get Penn Staters’ intellectual property into the marketplace.
This effort also worked to support entrepreneurial faculty, students and alumni through enhanced programming, and advanced the university’s service-to-society mission by promoting economic development. Barron emphasized that Invent Penn State was designed to be from end-to-end, taking ideas to the marketplace.
It worked. To date, the ecosystem has:
The cost to build the new Innovation Hub, a six-story building on South Burrowes Street that provides a new home for the LaunchBox with a community makerspace and state-of-the-art entrepreneurial and innovation resources.
The amount raised in venture capital by Invent Penn State graduates in 2020, an all-time high.
The number of students from 169 different majors who have enrolled in at least one course offered in the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship’s Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation over the last decade. The classes are built to be accessible to all students, and are available across campuses through a variety of academic programs and the Commonwealth Campus Fellows Program.
The date for the annual Penn State Startup Week that brings the leading minds in entrepreneurship and innovation to Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth. In 2021, the event included pitch competitions and online events featuring 122 entrepreneurs, speakers and judges.
Penn State organizes a range of competitions from HackPSU and the Nittany AI Challenge to Mont Alto LION Tank and Inc.U Competition, along with Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State that’s hosted annually in collaboration with partners across the state since 2009.
The top spot earned for the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship in 2020, as it won out over 250 international programs for “Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines” from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. In 2021, a Penn State team earned second place out of 348 teams from nine countries in the international Creating Shared Value Challenge.
The number of attendees at the Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference, one of the largest tech startup conferences in the mid-Atlantic. The event attracts more than 70 startup ventures and 40 investment firms from across the country. The event highlights innovations from high-growth and emerging markets including IT, energy, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, health care and more (and it’s coming up on April 28-29. Find more info here.).
US News and World Report consistently ranks Penn State as a top public university and top school for veterans. It’s also top-ranked in many of the programs that form the basis for successful startups in Happy Valley.
Penn State’s emphasis on fostering an entrepreneur mindset for undergraduates and graduates will benefit them no matter where their careers take them — whether starting a company, working as an intrapreneur or freelancing.
What do you think? What is Penn State doing well, and what next steps could it take to help equip the next generation of innovators? Comment below.