Penn State Innovation Hub: Kicking off the Future in Downtown State College | City and Dress


The new six-story state-of-the-art mixed-use house for innovation on Burrowes Street in downtown State College.

By Jason L. Levan

Penn State University was preparing to open its brand new innovation hub in October. The new building is a state-of-the-art, six-story mixed-use house for innovation on Burrowes Street in downtown State College that will serve students, innovators and community entrepreneurs.

The 85,000 square foot building will support the relocation of Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank and add entrepreneurial and innovation resources such as makerspaces, a virtual reality / immersive technology lab, a space dedicated to student clubs, a event overlooking the sixth floor of spaces and collaboration spaces designed to accelerate innovation, technology commercialization and local startups.

The all-new Makerspace for Fabrication, located on the ground floor of the building, provides access to advanced machinery for prototyping in a wide range of materials that will help startups advance in early product development, increasing their ability to rapidly design, prototype and test potential solutions. The makerspace will feature a range of large-scale computerized CNC machines, metalworking and welding, woodworking, and even a professional paint booth.

Just half a floor away, a Digital Makerspace will provide access to the latest rapid prototyping technologies and include an array of high-end 3D printing technologies, laser engravers and electronic prototyping. It will offer computers with 3D modeling and CAD software, laser engraving and small-scale electronic prototyping.

Happy Valley LaunchBox, previously located on South Allen Street, will move to the second floor of the Penn State Innovation Hub. Its mission is to reduce risks and accelerate startups in the early stage and evolving. They provide free services, support, and resources designed to help entrepreneurs avoid common mistakes and empower them to make more informed business decisions. The services they offer include co-working and collaboration spaces, business coaching, counseling, acceleration programs, micro-grants and expert speaker series. Through Penn State Legal Clinics, they also offer free legal services, including document writing, entity selection advice and a business start-up service, as well as related intellectual property services. patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Happy Valley LaunchBox is one of 21 innovation spaces created across the state by Invent Penn State. It was launched in 2015 by the president of the university Eric Barron to stimulate the economic development, the creation of jobs and the professional success of the students. Since its inception, Invent Penn State has awarded seed grants to 21 Penn State campuses to create innovation spaces where entrepreneurs can work on their startups with guidance to help reduce risk and accelerate.

Because it is a statewide program, 96% of Pennsylvanians have a LaunchBox or innovation center within 30 miles of where they live or work, Ashley pointed out. Palmer, acting director of marketing and communications for Invent Penn State. Over the past five years, the LaunchBox and the Innovation Hub Network have supported 3,325 community entrepreneurs, launched 164 new businesses in Pennsylvania, graduated 345 startup teams from acceleration programs, created 247 new products, and created 194 new jobs, Palmer said.

To top it off, the sixth floor will provide an airy meeting and event space that will inspire collaboration and the exchange of ideas between innovators, manufacturers, creators and the community. Open to both the local and university community, this space offers a 360-degree view of Happy Valley that will enhance any gathering.

Lee Erickson, chief amplifier for the Happy Valley LaunchBox, described the LaunchBox as “Penn State’s business accelerator.”

“We help people who have an idea for a new business determine if anyone cares – besides themselves,” Erickson told the Daily Collegian in September.

James Delattre is Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Office for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, where he leads overall program development for Invent Penn State.

The entrepreneurial spirit behind the program takes center stage each spring at PNC-powered Penn State Startup Week, an academic event that brings together some of the greatest minds in entrepreneurship and innovation on campus. from Penn State across the state. Startup Week events include entrepreneurial workshops, networking events, student pitch contests, and presentations from startup founders and business innovators, including many Penn State alumni.

Among the most notable “graduates” of the program is Hunter Swisher, CEO of Phospholutions Inc., who has participated in numerous Invent Penn State signature events and programs, Palmer said. Helping to provide environmental solutions, Phospholutions Inc. specializes in the development of patented technologies to mitigate the environmental impact of phosphorus fertilizers.

Two others are Sheridan Miyamoto, director of the SAFE-T Center and associate professor of nursing at PSU, and Birgitt Boschitsch, materials scientist and co-founder and CEO of Spotless Materials, who created a bio-inspired, self-healing coating. . for windows, windshields and other surfaces. Coatings repel water and dirt, making them easier to clean.

For more information on the new Penn State Innovation Hub, visit


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