Penn State SBDC helped student entrepreneurs reel in customers in 2015

April 2016

Penn State News. Vaughn Holderman’s lures may bring in the fish with ease, but responding to a sudden demand on his business—Chasing Trophy Fish—became a challenge. That’s when he turned to the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Penn State student gives voice to problem of communication limitations

April 2016

BTN LiveBIG. Giving a voice to the voiceless: For Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, that formidable mission began in 2010 while she was an exchange student in Cuenca, Ecuador. McCulloch’s Spanish was admittedly poor, and she thought that volunteering with children might help her practice the language. That’s how the high schooler found herself working at the Mensajeros de la Paz (Messengers of Peace) Orphanage. What she found within its walls would change her life.

Colombian cafe inspires Boalsburg natives to open business

April 2016

Centre Daily Times. A little bit of Colombia has arrived in State College.

Susan Jermusyk and her uncle Gerry Kistler recently opened Barranquero Cafe at 324 E. Calder Way.
“I have been to Colombia a lot to visit my uncle, and I loved its atmosphere,” Jermusyk said. “I had a lot of coffee from there, and when he approached me I loved the idea of opening a cafe in State College. It’s something we don’t have and it’s something we need.”


Happy Valley LaunchBox opens in downtown State College

April 2016

Penn State News.  Penn State President Eric J. Barron hosted a ceremonial ribbon cutting and dedication Thursday (March 31) at Happy Valley LaunchBox, 224 S. Allen St., in downtown State College.

The University’s new no-cost business pre-accelerator is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative. Happy Valley LaunchBox has piqued the curiosity of students and community members alike since the seven-foot geometric lighted logo was hung on the former Verizon Building earlier this month.


Happy Valley LaunchBox officially open for businesses

March 2016

The Daily Collegian. After months of collaboration, Penn State and the State College community partnered to form the entrepreneurial accelerator program Happy Valley LaunchBox. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 10 a.m. Thursday at 224 S. Allen St. to commemorate the event.

The program is part of the Invent Penn State initiative founded by President Eric Barron.

Happy Valley LaunchBox Looking for Next Group of Entrepreneurs

March 2016 Have a business idea? Happy Valley LaunchBox is accepting applications for its second group of startups to receive no-cost support services and space at its South Allen Street facility.

Applications for Happy Valley LaunchBox’s second cohort due March 25

March 2016

Penn State News. Happy Valley LaunchBox is accepting applications for its second cohort for summer 2016. Interested business startups may apply online at and will participate in a competitive selection process. The application deadline is March 25.

Entrepreneurial teams from the community, as well as Penn State faculty, staff and students, with scalable business concepts, are encouraged to apply. Five to 10 LaunchTeams will be selected. Five teams are already working in the space.

Green Big Spring Spirits to celebrate Gold rating

March 2016

Centre Daily Times. Kevin Lloyd hopes people come to celebrate and stay because they’re having a good time.

The co-owner of Big Spring Spirits in Bellefonte has his own celebration coming up soon.
The distillery is the second in the United States to earn a Gold rating certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. On March 16, Big Spring will host an event to mark the coveted certification.

Penn State student-run beer delivery startup Aqua Vitae works to gain traction

March 2016

Daily Collegian. Penn State students are working on creating a beer delivery service in State College. Suresh Rajan, the creator of Aqua Vitae, hopes to launch the student startup later this semester.

“This is a brand new industry of Pennsylvania,” Rajan (senior-economics and international politics) said. “We’ll be one of the first companies to be offering online ordering of alcohol for on-demand delivery.”


Holding up our end of the deal

March 2016

Centre Daily Times. For longtime residents of State College, you likely remember the days of a thriving local economy. You remember the days of large tech companies like C-Cor, Corning, HRB and Murata. You remember when the downtown had more diversity in its shops and restaurants. And you remember a time when there was greater economic balance between town and gown.

Six companies accepted into Happy Valley Launch Box

February 2016

Daily Collegian. Six local companies are establishing themselves as enterprises after they were accepted into Happy Valley Launch Box, a Penn State and State College community-funded initiative to assist local small businesses gain their footing.

Happy Valley Launch Box is a 10-week training program focused on informing new entrepreneurs about the ins and outs of starting a small business, from legal matters like intellectual property rights to venture capital funding and an endless supply of interns.

Ben Franklin programs support business ideas that benefit us all

February 2016

Centre Daily Times. Many thanks for your article, “Tech startups take many paths to funding,” and your mention of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners programs ( We always appreciate the coverage we receive from the Centre Daily Times, especially when it includes mention of some of the amazing startups we’ve been proud to help support through either our traditional funding program or through our BF TechCelerator Boot Camps for business startups. The two examples that you mentioned in your Business Matters piece, Airnest and Lasers for Innovative Solutions, are great examples of the 43 startups that have graduated from our BF TechCelerator @ State College, but are also two of the 10 new companies that went on to receive funding from us. To date, Ben Franklin has invested $950,000 in these very promising startups.


Happy Valley Launch Box announces first launch Teams

January 2016

Penn State News. Today (Jan. 14) Happy Valley LaunchBox announced its inaugural cohort, an entrepreneurial class of six business startups who will participate in Invent Penn State’s no-cost business pre-accelerator program. The teams will complete 10 weeks of business startup training, have access to no-cost legal and marketing consulting, and enjoy no-cost co-working space that’s available 24 hours daily.

State College Business Owners Recognized as Best In Western Pennsylvania

May 2015 Jim and Colleen Small may be small business owners, but they’ve won a big award.The State College husband and wife team, who own the UPS Store at 19 Colonnade Way, were named the Small Business Persons of the Year by the Small Business Administration’s Pittsburgh District Office.This honor puts the Smalls ahead of small business owners in 27 counties in western Pennsylvania.”We still can’t believe we were chosen for the award,” Jim Small says. “This is a tribute to all of the hard work of our employees.”

Bits of Business: Winning Numbers

May 2015

Centre Daily Times. Every small business gets a little help from someone.

The Penn State Small Business Development Center, which recently released its statistics for 2014, is there to offer a hand.
In 2014, according to an SBDC press release, the center assisted about 500 clients in Centre and Mifflin counties. The services and seminars offered by the SBDC also helped to start 23 businesses, create about 130 jobs and secure more than $3.3 million in financing opportunities.


Lion Launch Pad Turning Students Into Entrepreneurs

May 2015

WPSU. Penn State’s initiative to promote entrepreneurship has helped programs like Lion Launch Pad, New Leaf, and the Small Business Development Center. One, in particular, Lion Launch Pad, serves as a business accelerator program that helps selected students turn their ideas into startups.

Liz Kisenwether and Brad Leve advise the group in the Information Sciences and Technology Building. But according to Kisenwether, it took a lot of steps to get there. Lion Launch Pad started as an idea seven years ago, but ran into obstacles running as a for-profit venture on campus.


Lion Launch Pad awards grants to spur students’ innovations

April 2015

Penn State News. Three Penn State engineering students — Mridul Bhandari, Nick Pisciotta and Richard Zang — now have a little more money to help enhance their startups, thanks to Lion Launch Pad.


$500K grant will drive innovation at TechCelerator@State College

April 2015

Penn State News. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that the TechCelerator@State College is among the first of 26 recipients of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies program grants.

Penn State received a $500,000 i6/Cluster Grant for Seed Capital Funds to further develop the TechCelerator@State College, a pre-accelerator that is specifically designed to allow technologists who have not identified themselves as future business owners to explore entrepreneurship and commercialization pathways for technologies and arrive at educated go/no-go decisions. This program will not only deliver services that are expected to result in $30 million in economic benefits, but will also catalyze a replicable, rural innovation strategy to foster an entrepreneurial culture and create economic growth along the way.


Student-Directed ‘Dear Old State’ To Highlight The Penn State Experience

April 2015

Onward State. Student-directed documentary “Dear Old State,” which highlights student life and the traditions of Happy Valley, will premiere later this month. Director Griffin Boustany-Jost, a senior majoring in Management Information Systems, gave us an inside look at the two-year project.


Students embrace University’s entrepreneurial community on road to success

March 2015

Penn State News. March 19, 2015 HERSHEY, Pa. — When Penn State students Taylor Mitcham and Mitch Robinson decided to attend Penn State, neither one of them knew much about the University or planned to become business owners. Today, both are immersed in the entrepreneurial community at Penn State as they create their own start-ups.


‘Penn State plague’ combated with student-run company’s packages

February 2015

Daily Collegian. The “Penn State plague” — or the sicknesses students get from one another — is common. In an effort to combat winter sickness, Nick Slavtcheff and Ben

The “Penn State plague” — or the sicknesses students get from one another — is common. In an effort to combat winter sickness, Nick Slavtcheff and Ben Szoch are cousins who turned an idea into reality, with their company PlaguePacks.


Student Business ‘PlaguePacks’ Delivers Essentials To Sick Peers

February 2015

Onward State. You know that feeling when you’re sick? When you don’t want to leave your bed and any sort of movement feels like a chore? We’ve all been there, and as you’ve probably noticed, when one person on campus gets sick, we all get sick. Students Ben Szoch and Nick Slavtcheff realized this, and wanted to help students facing what they call “the Penn State Plague.”



Finding a Start, Finding a Home

February 2015 It is true that State College carries the traditional “college town” label, with plenty of activity to offer the thousands of students that come and go through Penn State each year. But for young professionals coming from elsewhere in the country who find themselves in the area either for school or for their careers, settling in and discovering what Happy Valley has to offer them looks a little bit different than it does to an incoming freshman.

NL3 Pitch Event recap: Student startup winners and the “Legacy Award”

February 2015

Lion Launch Pad. Fourteen student start-ups pitched at the NL3 Pitch Event held at New Leaf Initiative Wednesday night on the chance to continue on into this semester’s NL3 program.  Seven teams, including Legacy Winners GreenTowers won the perks of a 7 hour/week coworking membership at New Leaf, potential for a $500 grant through Lion Launch Pad, and monthly progress meetings with NL3 leaders and other program participants.

Vamos! Lion Chariot Offers Happy Valley ‘Transportainment’

January 2015

Gant Daily. Once Todd Miner, Class of 1992 and 1995, saw the human-powered tricycle, his imagination did the rest.

Miner, a meteorologist by trade, was visiting family in California a few years ago when he spotted a rickshaw, one of those two-wheeled bicycle taxis once made popular in a “Seinfeld” episode.

Penn State Global Entrepreneurship Week officially kicks off Nov. 16

November 2014

Penn State News.  Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) officially kicks off on Nov. 16 and runs through Nov. 20 at Penn State.

GEW is a week-long series of events designed to inspire people to explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. Events range from small networking gatherings to large competitions, all designed to connect people with potential collaborators, mentors and investors.


A Penn State Student’s Waterless Car Wash

November 2014

Onward State. A waterless car wash. To most people, that sounds like some made up oxymoron, but to senior Taylor Mitcham, it’s a business.


Penn State students explore global entrepreneurship with teammates in London

November 2014

Penn State News. On Oct. 29, 16 Penn State students were teamed up with 16 students from Middlesex University in London, and together accepted the three-week MDX+PSU Innovation Challenge. It’s a new component of Penn State’s events supporting Global Entrepreneurship Week, held globally Nov. 17-23 and Nov. 16-21 at the University Park campus.

Penn State to host week-long business event

November 2014

Centre Daily Times Starting a small business has never been harder.  Learning the first steps you have to take might never be easier.
The 7th annual Penn State Global Entrepreneurship Week will kick off Nov. 16 and runs through Nov. 20. There will be 70 events throughout the week, 68 of which are open to the public.

Are you a student who wants to start a business? Here’s a success story

November 2014

Penn State News. This is the final story in a four-part series about topics every aspiring student entrepreneur should know. The monthly series was written by Penn State Outreach News Bureau intern Dane Vanover and is a service of Penn State’s Small Business Development Center.

Inspiration can strike any time or place.

Taylor Mitcham, a senior in mining engineering, was not looking to start a business last winter. Her car needed a wash but as a busy college student, Mitcham didn’t want to waste time sitting in a tunnel car wash. However, she didn’t have a hose at her apartment to clean it herself. She became determined to find a more cost and time efficient way to clean her car.