Penn State dedicated the next phase of the Innovation Squared Project, an economic development project that will foster job creation, as well as develop and implement a dual entrepreneurial ecosystem and mentorship program for Downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Penn State President Eric J. Barron and Penn State Wilkes-Barre Chancellor Charles H. Davis, in conjunction with the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting on Thursday, December 17th at the site of the Innovation Center Technology Workshop and Multi-Media Center and home to the Wilkes-Barre Connect Initiative.
"The Innovation Squared Project, specifically the Technology Workshop and Multi-Media Center, represents a true collaborative effort between our ABC's: the Academia led by Penn State; the Businesses led by eBay; and the Community led by the City of Wilkes-Barre, Senator John Yudichak, Representative Eddie Day Pashinski, and the Commonwealth Finance Authority," said Wico van Genderen, President & CEO of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber. "We expect the Technology Workshop and Wilkes-Barre Connect Initiative to be fully operational during the first quarter of 2016, in our continued efforts to establish Wilkes-Barre as an Innovation Center of Excellence."
The 5,000 SF cutting-edge technology workshop and multi-media center will provide local professionals, businesses, and colleges and universities access to shared workshops for R&D; private conference rooms for training, presentations and virtual meetings; and a multi-service center to be utilized for virtual board meetings, podcasts, lectures, technology competitions, and mentorship activities. The Wilkes-Barre Connect Initiative is the program that will run within the workshop and media center to provide mentoring, training, networking and technical assistances, as well as access to capital, facilities, and other resources, to start-up and existing businesses.
"Today we begin a new chapter of inspiring innovation through collaboration in this region," President Eric Barron said. "We're glad we could provide a location where academics and entrepreneurial leaders can meet and develop initiatives and programs, driving innovation in the Greater Wilkes-Barre area."
Michael Jones, CEO of eBay Enterprise who has been in the Innovation Center for more than 10 years, said a technology workshop and multi-media center is needed in the downtown Wilkes-Barre building and marks the start to a journey "toward creating a true world-class asset."
The Invent Penn State initiative has provided seed grant funding for five additional entrepreneurship center programs in Commonwealth Campus communities, including Abington, Behrend, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, and New Kensington.