Recently, an alum interested in supporting entrepreneurship at Penn State asked me for my thoughts on the current state of support for student entrepreneurs. Given my involvement with the Lion Launch Pad, an accelerator for students at Penn State that I co-founded, this is a topic that I have a strong interest in.
I have a much longer post on ideas to help support student entrepreneurs that I’m working on, but for today, I’m just going to stick to the current state.
I wrote a summary of the various groups, individuals, and programs at Penn State that I was aware of, which are involved in supporting student entrepreneurship in various ways. That document is embedded below.
If you’re an entrepreneur at Penn State, or even just someone interested in entrepreneurship, I would be very interested in your feedback and thoughts on the programs listed, along with my thoughts.
From the document:
- There are a number of programs on and around Penn State’s campus that are dedicated to helping students explore and succeed in entrepreneurship. These include both academic and business resources. If students know where to look, there is generally something that can help get them moving in the right direction.
- Penn State has both a history of entrepreneurial success and some recent entrepreneurship success stories. This is in addition to a fantastic resource in its alumni base, spread out across all areas of business.
- The past several years have seen huge growth in programs for supporting early- stage entrepreneurs. No longer is there a gaping void between idea and venture capital funding. Entrepreneurs have a number of programs beyond Penn State to turn to and benefit from.
- Despite the large number of available programs, unfortunately, the entrepreneurship landscape is heavily fragmented and resources are not integrated. Consequently, students interested in entrepreneurship use their time looking for the necessary resources rather than taking advantage of them.
- There is an issue of general awareness. Without high profile recent wins, there is a limited number of students who consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path or application of their ideas/creativity. Furthermore, students are seldom aware of academic entrepreneurship programs beyond their college/major.
- The third section of this document provides a highlights of the recent growth in external programs for early-stage entrepreneurs – there is a large opportunity to align with these programs and incorporate their best practices.
- Penn State’s alumni base is a tremendous resource, yet, unfortunately, it is difficult to access and leverage. There is an opportunity to structure this resource more effectively, thus benefiting all Penn State entrepreneurs.
- Engineering Entrepreneurship Minor, School of Engineering, Design, Technology, and Professional Programs, College of Engineering (http://www.e-ship.psu.edu/)
- Lion Launch Pad (http://www.lionlaunchpad.org)
- Farrell Center, Smeal College of Business (http://www.smeal.psu.edu/fcfe/) — includes Garber Practicum and Smeal IdeaPitch
- Penn State Entrepreneurs Network (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=198392299635)
- Project Blue Pill (http://www.projectbluepill.org/)
- NCIIA Invention 2 Venture (I2V)
- Blue Line Incubator
- College of Information Sciences and Technology (http://ist.psu.edu)
- Ben Franklin Technology Partners (http://benfranklin.org/)
- Innovation Park (http://www.innovationpark.psu.edu/)
For details about the existing programs, along with some thoughts as far as how to improve upon the current state, please read the full document and leave your thoughts and reactions in the comments!
You can download the document in PDF format.