Ds Scholarship

Invent Penn State’s impact on display for lawmakers during Innovation Hub tour

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Currently using the coworking space of the PNC Bank-supported Happy Valley LaunchBox at the new Penn State Innovation Hub, Royce D’Souza has leveraged several Penn State’s entrepreneurial resources, first as a student and now as a graduate and founder.

D’Souza, who received a philosophy degree in 2021, has benefited from programs and resources offered by Invent Penn State, including the Summer Founders Program, which provides students $15,000 to work for their startups over the summer. Today, he leads his own college business, Lessly.io, which helps restaurants and e-commerce stores accept orders, manage menus, create analytics, and dispatch a private fleet of drivers — all from an integrated point of sale system.

D’Souza, joined by Lee Erickson, Associate Director of Economic Development and Student Programs at the Penn State Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing; Sydney Gibbard, co-founder of Girls Code the World; And Tamila Sirencitis, founder of Argolytics LLC, presents the statewide impact of Pennsylvania’s entrepreneurial ecosystem during the House Democratic Policy Committee meeting Monday, Jan. 31, at the Pennsylvania Center for Innovation, located at 123 S. Burrows Street in downtown State College. State representatives and House Democratic Policy Committee staff learned about the Invent Penn State Initiative, launched by President Eric Barron in 2015, and toured the new building.

Penn State recently requested $2.35 million in new funding in its FY 2022-23 state allotment request, which will help strengthen and grow the Invent Penn State LaunchBox and Innovation Hub Network, and expand existing entrepreneurship training programs and startup pitch competitions.

“Royce is one of thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators who have benefited from the entrepreneurial resources of the Invent Penn State,” said Erickson. “For the past seven years, we have been building entrepreneurial ecosystems across Pennsylvania, and our new Penn State Center for Innovation is the next step in the evolution of our downtown State College ecosystem. This modern building and gathering space will be a place where anyone can An innovator or entrepreneur in Happy Valley will have access to resources, expertise, and support to transform their ideas into sustainable businesses.The new manufacturing and maker space located in the building will contain the latest technology and prototyping equipment to support both new and existing business owners looking to prototype new products to grow their business, as well as Faculty members looking to commercialize their world-class research.”

Held at a ribbon-cutting ceremony last November, the Pennsylvania Center for Innovation is a cornerstone of the university’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. The building serves the local and Pennsylvania community, and is home to the Happy Valley LaunchBox, one of the 21 LaunchBox and Innovation Hub Network places of innovation. The network provides early-stage startups with the resources to eliminate risks and avoid common and costly mistakes. Resources, many of which are provided at no cost, include accelerator programs, co-working space, legal advice, intellectual property, creativity space, mentorship, and access to financing and business advice.

The network began in 2015, when both Penn State campuses received $5,000 a year for three years from the Invent Penn State’s competitive scholarship program. Now with hubs in 21 Penn State campus communities, the program has since assisted 4,976 entrepreneurs, supported 201 product development projects, created 302.5 jobs and 486 internships, and engaged 13,151 faculty, staff, and students.

“Both LaunchBox and Innovation Hub Network support innovators and entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth of Nations,” said Ericsson. The network is designed to eliminate risk and accelerate the creation of new businesses, as well as work with economic development partners to support and grow existing businesses. In just five years, we are proud to say that 96% of Pennsylvanians live within 30 miles of one of our innovation spaces.”

The Penn State Innovation Hub also features state-of-the-art manufacturing space. This will include large-scale manufacturing technologies, such as carpentry and welding equipment, and rapid prototyping and electronics technology, such as 3D printing and small-scale electronics prototyping.

Other startup resources on display on the premises include Intellectual Property Law Clinics to Assist Entrepreneurs, Penn State, and the Pennsylvania Center for Small Business Development.

To view more Penn State startups, visit the Startup Navigator. To find more entrepreneurial resources, visit the Resource Navigator.

About Invent Penn State

Invent Penn State is a Commonwealth level initiative to stimulate economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State blends academic programs focused on entrepreneurship, business start-up and incubation training, marketing finance, and university/community/industry collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvania and humanity.

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