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Innovation & Job News

2019 Articles | Page: | Show All

Penn State funds agricultural research with an eye to commercialization

Innovative and potentially marketable research projects to develop a new fertilizer, anti-bed bug pesticide, farm equipment and waste-to-fuel technology have received grants from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
 
The Research Applications for Innovation (RAIN) Grants aim to stimulate economic development through transfer of technologies to the marketplace, says Gary Thompson, associate dean for research and graduate education.
 
Nina Jenkins, a senior research associate in entomology, is leading a research group developing a biopesticide for long-term control and prevention of bed bug infestations. Jenkins has filed patent applications for the technology, which has garnered strong interest from the hotel industry. The grant will be used to collect data needed for eventual approval of the project for in-home use.
 
Corey Dillon and Agronomy Professor Greg Roth are working to commercialize "the Penn State Interseeder" developed by research technologist Chris Houser. The equipment  can seed a cover crop into no-till corn, while also applying fertilizer and post-emergent herbicide, saving growers time and money and making cover crops more economically feasible. 
 
Cover crops are gaining favor for their ability to reduce soil erosion, take up excess nutrients, suppress weeds and provide forage and biofuel feedstock.
The grant will be used to market the equipment for licensing to potential suppliers and manufacturers. 
 
Nicole Brown, associate professor of wood chemistry, is investigating a value-added use for lignin and silica-rich rice hull ash, which are wastes from bioenergy, and pulp and paper production. Brown's team has applied for a patent for technology that incorporates these low-value products into bricks that substitute for coke, the fuel source in the metal casting industry.
 
Industry trials have shown that these innovative solid-fuel bricks can reduce the energy and carbon dioxide footprints of steel and iron foundries by 20 to 25 percent, while providing additional value for several waste or low-value materials. 
 
Another team, led by Associate Professor Mary Ann Bruns, is studying cyanobacterial biofertilizers and will work with a company that plans to produce low-carbon liquid fuels by capturing carbon dioxide to grow cyanobacteria.
 
Source: Penn State
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Six startups share $740,000 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA

Six entrepreneurs, technology startups and small manufacturers are beneficiaries of  the latest investments announced by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA
 
FairTech Labs, located in State College and a graduate of the BF TechCelerator@State College, provides an online solution for personalized household inventory management.  Shelf Scouter effectively organizes, manages and purchases household goods and eliminates the inefficiencies associated with paper grocery lists.  
 
Also located in State College, Ascent Bio-Nano Technologies, a graduate of the BF TechCelerator@State College, has developed patented, low-cost flow cytometer cell sorters that analyze and sort without damaging the cells.
 
Arctic Blast Covers in Indiana has introduced a line of thermal covers that are designed to insulate and warm bank branch offices that maintain ATMs, cash drawers and night deposit slots.   
 
Located in York, UniSeal  has introduced FloorEverDri® into the global moisture mitigation and concrete curing market. UniSeal’s green, user-friendly product meets or exceeds all ASTM moisture and alkalinity testing standards and also acts as a primer for flooring adhesives.   
 
Netrepid  in Harrisburg, is an IT services company which is building on a nine-year legacy.  The BFTP investment helps complete a company restructure and will also be used to hire support and sales personnel. The company offers co-location, hosting and infrastructure management. 
 
Conduit Technology, housed in the Erie Technology Incubator on the campus of Gannon University, has developed and launched a cloud-based software product that automates the current manual, paper-based process used to collect medical device documentation required by insurance companies.  
 
Source: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Erie's Adaptmicrosys getting hardware and software to co-exist

The rapid evolution of handheld computing devices, such as tablets, smartphones, cellphones and game machines, is putting increased pressure on semiconductor and mobile computing device makers to satisfy the demand for both low-power and high-performance computing. 
 
To serve that market, Adaptmicrosys, an Erie startup, is developing technology to enhance performance and energy efficiency of mobile devices and computers. 
 
Founder Kyu Jung explains it like this: "Let's say a smartphone is a house for a family where a mother, father and many children live together." Dad is the hardware, born to run fast. Mom is the software and can create complicated mazes – known as software code fraction. The kids are the memory. Mom and the kids force Dad to "slow down at very corner … In order to resolve or at least alleviate these issues, we offer marriage counseling for this family," Jung says.
 
Adaptmicrosys develops adaptive hardware and software co-technologies to enhance performance and energy efficiency of hardware and software in devices including smartphones tablets, and laptop/desktop PCs so that manufacturers can "seamlessly develop their hardware and software ecosystems," he adds.
 
Jung established the company in 2008 in Texas before relocating to Pennsylvania. He currently teaches computer engineering at Gannon University.  
 
Adaptmicrosys recently won $10,000 at the Ben Franklin Big Idea business plan competition, sponsored by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania
 
The coaching, mentoring and access to resources in Erie have been invaluable, Jung says, helping the company "sail through a foggy sea of business."
 
Source: Kyu Jung, Adaptmicrosys
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Pharma and Biotech keep Ambler's Precis Engineering growing

Like the little engineering firm that could, Precis Engineering  in Ambler has seen steady growth, through bad times and now good. 
 
Founded in 2005 with two, the company just added five new engineering and administrative positions, bringing its workforce to 42. "Our backlog has us busy and we foresee staying that way," says Principal Robert Dick, making more hiring likely. He anticipates adding another three jobs in the next six months and possibly another five or six within the next year.
 
Precis' focus on the pharmaceutical, biotech, university, utility and research and development markets helped keep the firm busy, even through the worst of the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, says Dick. "Whether they're growing, shrinking or consolidating, [these clients] need engineering services," he says, for maintenance, physical plant and equipment upgrades. 
 
Looking ahead, he sees "a fair amount of still-untapped market share in the area… We see that most companies still have significant capital expenditure budgets looking forward. We think we'll be a key part of that success."
 
Precis offers a range of engineering services including mechanical, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, life safety and process automation engineering and commissioning services. Its client list is populated with big names including Teva, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Verizon Wireless, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton. 
 
Precis was on the team behind the award-winning Morphotek  pilot plant in Exton. That project, which included brownfield reclamation and a highly sustainable design, was awarded LEED Gold certification this summer and has received much recognition. "That was a great project for us," says Dick. 
 
Source: Robert Dick, Precis Engineering
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Rainwear, pure air, advanced batteries and more: Innovative companies receive Ben Franklin $$$

Makers of green electrical generators, hospital air purification systems, rainproof materials and advanced batteries are among the innovative companies that have received a total of almost $325,000 in new investments from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
 
Four early-stage companies received loans. They are:
 
EthosGen LLC in Wilkes-Barre received $115,000 to continue commercialization efforts for its proprietary on-site, alternative-energy, waste-heat-to-electrical-power generator that produces electricity from sustainable and renewable sources. 
 
LifeAire Systems, LLC  of Allentown got $40,000 to conduct a series of test programs to validate the effectiveness of its air purification technology in a hospital setting, and expand marketing efforts for selling the units to in vitro fertilization laboratories. 
 
Map Decisions, a resident at Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem, received $13,200 to identify resources for marketing and sales support to help commercialize its field information management software system. Map Decisions’ software platform replaces outdated methods of data collection such as paper forms, cameras, video, spreadsheets and hard-to-use, expensive professional GPS units.
 
Zero Rain, LLC in Mildred received $50,000 to begin operations to apply a new, proprietary chemical to natural fabrics and finished apparel that makes them water-repellant and resistant to stains and odors. The treatment works on all natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, wool, and cashmere. 
 
In addition, these established manufacturers were awarded 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation:
 
Alpha Packaging of Bethlehem, a maker of plastic bottles and jars primarily for the nutritional, pharmaceutical, personal care, housewares, consumer chemical and food and beverage markets, was awarded $48,000?to work with Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center to implement practices and install equipment to reduce its energy consumption by 20%.

East Penn Manufacturing Company in Lyon Station received $48,000 to develop a complete analysis of front-end considerations in support of the company’s new advanced battery products. Partnering with The Emerging Technologies Application Center at Northampton Community College, East Penn, the largest manufacturing employer in Berks County, will address packaging, transport, storage, safety and precautions in materials handling.
 
Precise Graphix of Emmaus, a designer, fabricator, and installer of interior décor, signage and store fixtures, was awarded $10,300 to work with Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center to improve its production layout and optimize its job cost analysis process. The analysis will lead to more effective scheduling utilization and increased profitability, as well as an improved layout of the manufacturing operations to streamline process flow.
 
Source: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Bethlehem's Orbweaver Sourcing makes parts search easy for electronics makers

Manufacturers of electronics traditionally have had to endure an inefficient and time-consuming process that can take as long as two weeks to comparison-shop for components. 
 
No longer. Orbweaver Sourcing,  a Bethlehem-based startup, has developed a technology that automatically analyzes and filters parts search results from 265 suppliers, based on nearly a dozen customizable settings. Users are instantly presented with results suited to their unique demands, from supplier preferences to cost/excess strategy. 
 
"We are the Kayak of electronics sourcing decisions," says CEO and co-founder T. Christopher Ciesielka, referring to the travel website aggregator.
 
Ciesielka founded the company in March 2012 with Tony Powell. Working in the electronics manufacturing services industry, Ciesielka had commissioned Powell, a software developer, to build something for his own use. It didn't take long for the pair to realize they had a viable business opportunity.
 
Orbweaver launched its first product, a browser-based app and Excel add-in, in July. They are actively developing and raising capital for their cloud-based product, which they expect to launch in April and which will offer instant quotes, sourcing, inventory management and purchasing functions.
 
The company is one of 10 finalists in the Ben Franklin Venture Idol,  a crowd-funding event hosted by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania in November. 
 
The young company, housed at Ben Franklin TechVentures on the Lehigh University campus, currently has five part-timers. Ciesielka projects creating four jobs in 18 months and 24 jobs over the next three years, mostly programmers and sales support.
 
Source: T. Christopher Ciesielka, Orbweaver Sourcing
Writer: Elise Vider
 

From Kitty Hawk to Bethlehem: Curtiss-Wright lands at a new facility, adding 95 jobs

Curtiss-Wright Corporation (as in Glenn Curtiss, the father of naval aviation; Wright as in the pioneering aviation brothers) is building a new facility in Bethlehem and creating 95 jobs.
 
The PA Department of Community & Economic Development  (DCED) says the company will move its Engineered Pump Division from Phillipsburg, NJ to a new 179,000-square-foot facility in Bethlehem, a more than $7 million capital investment. The division provides a wide range of highly engineered, mission-critical and general-service products for the Navy, Coast Guard and related maritime customers.
 
"We … look forward to supplying our mission-critical products and services from our new, modern manufacturing, testing, warehousing and office facility," Todd Schurra, the division's general manager, said in a statement.
 
Curtiss-Wright received a funding offer from DCED including a $200,000 PA First Program grant, a $42,750 Guaranteed Free Training grant to train its new workforce, and a $2.3 million loan from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund.
 
The company was created in 1929 as a merger between Curtiss Aeroplane and Wright Aeronautical Corporation. Based in Parsippany, NJ, Curtiss-Wright is today a global engineering and manufacturing company with 10,000 employees worldwide.  The company already has about 760 employees in Pennsylvania, according to DCED.
 
Source: Lyndsay Frank, DCED
Writer: Elise Vider

SG America relocates to Wyomissing, with up to 20 new jobs

After joining SG America about a year-and-a-half ago, General Manager Ray Suhocki assessed the Japanese company's operations in rural Minnesota and posed a question: "If we’re going to expand long-term, where do we want to be?"
 
Now, SG's search has culminated at a 25,000-square-foot plant in Wyomissing where, on a recent day, Suhocki was overseeing unpacking, deliveries, machinery inspections and hiring. The plant makes air-to-air heat recovery and desiccant dehumidification components used in commercial and industrial air handling systems.
 
Suhocki expects to create up to 20 new jobs at the plant by the end of the year in production, logistics, assembly and engineering.
 
A variety of factors went into the relocation decision. Primarily, Suhocki says, "I was looking for longer term structural cost reductions." Also in the soup: population density, a ready labor pool, a pipeline for trained workers (he cites the engineering programs at Penn State Berks County), good air access to Europe and Asia and, especially, ready access to suppliers such as sheet metal shops, laser cutter and machinists. Berks County offered them all, he says, lauding the "long tradition of industrial activity." He also praises the Greater Reading Economic Partnership for its help.
 
SG's parent company is Seibu Giken, which has manufactured heat wheels for over 35 years. The company opened a U.S. sales office in 2001 and began manufacturing in Minnesota in 2008. 
 
Source: Ray Suhocki, SG America
Writer: Elise Vider

Glen Mills' Versify Solutions get a jolt with new contract, venture capita

Versify Solutions in Glen Mills is getting a jolt – a good thing for a company that develops software and IT systems for the power industry. In recent weeks Versify announced both a significant venture capital investment and a new, six-year licensing contract with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PGE), the giant California utility.
 
Versify, says President and CEO Pete Cona, "is really picking up speed in the market." 
 
The energy industry, Cona explains, "is looking to leverage its existing infrastructure. And the question everyone is trying to get an answer for is 'how can I improve efficiency and profits from my existing infrastructure and how can I absorb emerging technologies?' "
 
This is where Versify comes in. Founded in 2005, Versify offers a suite of proprietary software products and services to collect, analyze and report on vast amounts of incoming data in real time. "We believe software is a key piece to integrating different generating technologies, improving operations, integrating with the grid, improving reliability and being compliant [with regulation]," Cona says.
 
Versify's market includes utilities, energy traders, power schedulers, power developers and compliance officials – "professionals in the power industry who demand a constant flow of data to efficiently navigate an increasingly dynamic sector." Besides PGE, it counts among its clients other big players such as Constellation Energy and Xcel
 
On the capital front, SJF Ventures announced last month that it is has invested in Versify. Also participating is Potomac Energy Fund, an earlier Versify investor. "The financing will be used to expand the company's sales efforts and provide customer support in meeting current market demand," SJF said. Neither SJF nor Cona revealed the dollar amount.
 
Cona says the company is growing both revenues and customers annually and that he expects the workforce to grow by about 30% over the next year. 
 
Source: Pete Cona, Versify Solutions
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Neat meat substitute grows from Lancaster kitchen to grocery shelves

In 2011, when her two kids decided to become vegetarian, Laura Lapp "started messing around to try to get them to eat something." From those experiments in her Lancaster kitchen has emerged what she says is the first soy-free, gluten-free, shelf-stable meat replacement and the basis for Neat Foods, which she founded in 2012 with her husband, Phil.
 
Neat started selling its line of meat substitutes last year on Amazon, where it has been a strong seller. Now the startup is poised to expand to bricks-and-mortar grocers. The Lapps will be debuting Neat at the Natural Products Expo East trade show in Baltimore later this month.
 
The Lapps have kept all aspects of their young company strictly local. Neat is manufactured at the gluten-free-certified, commercial production facility run by the Susquehanna Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired  in Leola. Their distributor is Garden Spot Distributors in New Holland. Their packaging was designed by The Infantree in Lancaster.
 
Neat's line of ground meat substitutes is derived from nuts and other natural ingredients, comes in three flavors (Mexican, Italian and Original) and has a one-year shelf life. Many meat replacements currently on the market have soy and gluten and even additives and chemicals, so the advent of Neat "is a big deal for vegetarians and vegans," says Laura Lapp.  And much of the competition is frozen, much more expensive to ship and to pay for space at the grocery, adds Phil.
 
For now, the company is just the two of them, but Phil is hoping to add at least one more, a customer service representative, as soon as possible. For now, the goal is to get into more grocery stores, hit $30,000 in sales for the fourth quarter and "ramp up significantly next year," he adds.
 
Neat!
 
Source: Laura and Phil Lapp, Neat Foods
Writer: Elise Vider
 

LV Startup Weekend winner Skaffl impresses at TechCrunch Disrupt SF

A little more than a year since winning Lehigh Valley Startup Weekend for its fresh take on mobile technology's integration with K-12 education, Allentown-based Skaffl has made a big splash on the West Coast.
 
The startup launched its flagship iPad app, braket (formerly known as "Rung") in beta at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in San Francisco earlier this week. It attempts to create a paperless classroom, helping teachers manage the distribution of written assignments to students. The first version of braket will be free and available on the iTunes App store within the next month.
 
Braket works like this: Teachers upload any handout in .pdf or .doc format to distribute to students, who can complete the assignment by annotating directly on the document. Teachers can assess student work and grade it from within the application.
 
Additional functionality will be added to braket to help meet teachers' needs. Ultimately, braket's goal is to simplify the many tedious tasks of lesson plans, assignemnts and assessments. 
 
Co-founders Rita Chesterton and Michael Hanssen are both education veterans. Chesterton was a lawyer before entering the education field as a teacher and later working as a technology coach and instructional technologist. Hanssen has worked for two decades as a school technology director. Anoher cofounder, Matthew Smollinger (Chief Technology Officer), has extensive enterprise IT experience in networking, security, cloud server management, and web, mobile and desktop software development. Skaffl's fourth cofounder is Angela Moramarco (Chief Creative Officer), an expert in strategic digital marketing with a focus on mobile and social media.
 
Skaffl is one of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania most recent portfolio copmanies. The startup is also working on a patent that will enable students to flip between their notes and assignments, according to TechCrunch.
 

IPart keeps its funding rolling to assist tech startups secure federal grants

Once again, Pennsylvania's Innovation Partnership (IPart) has scored funding in a challenging environment, in order to "assure Pennsylvania's small technology companies that its programs will continue to assist them in generating winning, fundable federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposals."
 
Director Kelly Wylam says that IPart secured a $95,000 Federal State and Technology Partnership (FAST) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The funds were contingent on successfully raising a dollar-for-dollar match from the IPart membership: Ben Franklin Technology Partners, University City Science Center, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine, BioStrategy Partners, the Innovation Transfer Network, Ben Franklin Venture Investment Forum, Drexel University and Temple University.
 
With $190,000 in hand for the 2013-14 fiscal year, Wylam says that IPart can provide training, assistance and review of proposals and micro vouchers and micro grants to help small companies defray the costs of preparing winning proposals.
 
The potential return-on-investment is high. Wylam notes that in fiscal 2012-13, IPart assisted about 25 companies, two of whom have already received phase 1 federal awards of $250,000 each. Subsequent phases offer money in the millions. Since IPart's inception in 2003, the program, administered by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, has conducted 505 technical reviews and 92 SBIR/STTR federal awards have been granted, totaling over $25 million.
 
Despite a drop in federal/state funding, Wylam says, "we have not missed a beat here." For a very small amount of money, she adds, "We're helping [Pennsylvania's tech startups] have a better chance of winning these dollars and moving their technologies forward."
 
Source: Kelly Wylam, IPart
Writer: Elise Vider

Ben Franklin Venture Idol brings crowdfunding to Northeastern Pennsylvania

What if you did a mash-up of "Shark Tank" and "American Idol"? Except with entrepreneurs and investors instead of vocalists and celebrities.
 
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) plans to do just that when it hosts Ben Franklin Venture Idol,  northeastern Pennsylvania's first crowdfunding event, on November 21. 
 
After two rounds of preliminary judging, three tech startup entrepreneurs will pitch their ventures to investors and a live audience of about 150, each of whom will distribute $100 in "Ben Bucks," to be honored later as a total of $15,000 in cash awards by BFTP/NEP. There is a Ben Franklin Venture Idol page on RocketHub.com so that interested individuals can invest real cash online prior to the event.
 
“Ben Franklin Venture Idol illustrates a significant way in which early-stage entrepreneurs seek and obtain seed capital,” says Laura Eppler, director of marketing for BFTP/NEP. “During this event, the audience and 10 promising technology firms will learn about company strengths and weaknesses, their likelihood for commercial success, and how to improve their funding pitches. Supporting entrepreneurs in this way is fundamental to Ben Franklin’s mission, allowing us to leverage our financial investments.”
 
The Ben Franklin Venture Idol competitors are:

Bison Analytics, LLC, Lewisburg, which produces business intelligence software for small businesses that use QuickBooks™ accounting software.
 
Cerora Inc., Bethlehem, which makes affordable neuro-diagnostic information available to non-specialists in the field. 

eVendor Check, Hawley, which reduces clients’ risks associated with vendor selection by using patent-pending survey tools and a supporting database.
 
GiveGab, Dunmore, whose proprietary web-based software platform is a social network of volunteers, nonprofits, schools, and businesses that allows them to connect using a single network.
 
Map Decisions, LLC, Bethlehem, whose MapCollect™ software platform for field-oriented industries operates on consumer-grade mobile devices and replaces outdated methods of data collection. 

Orbweaver Sourcing LLC,  Bethlehem, which develops, builds, and markets PricePerfect™ technology to automatically analyze and filter parts search results.
 
Pivitec, LLC,  Bethlehem, which develops audio streaming and distribution products. 

PROVA Systems, LLC, Carbondale, whose Fleet Genius™ diagnostic device links with its cloud-based software to collect, monitor, and analyze the performance of vehicles and drivers in a vehicle fleet. 
 
Skaffl, LLC,  Allentown, which produces a mobile app for teachers and students to exchange materials, assignments, completed homework, assessments and grades.
 
The tenth competitor will be named at Lehigh Valley Tech’s Startup Weekend event, scheduled for November 15-17. Admission to Ben Franklin Venture Idol is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Register online at http://ennect.com/e2100.

Source: Laura Eppler, BFTP/NEP
Writer: Elise Vider

GE and Dow make mega investments in PA

Two global giants – GE and Dow – have made significant investments in Pennsylvania, with major physical expansions, retaining and possibly creating new jobs. 
 
Dow opened its new, 800,000-square-foot Northeast Technology Center in Collegeville last month. By the end of next year, about 800 employees and contractors, most transferred from Dow's Spring House location, will work at what will be one of Dow’s three largest R&D campuses. The facility has room for growth and can accommodate up to 1,300, says Dow spokesman Justin M. Land. Dow has a large presence in the Delaware Valley with about 2,000 employees and four of its 13 global businesses headquartered in the region. 
 
"The NTC will play a pivotal role as an innovation hub for many businesses in Dow’s Advanced Materials portfolio – a business unit headquartered in Philadelphia, which brings differentiated solutions to customers in key end-markets including electronics, consumer and lifestyle, infrastructure and transportation and energy," Dow said in a statement.
 
Nearly 500 miles away, in Lewistown, GE has opened a $10 million, 52,000-square-foot Customer Solutions Center  "to meet the growing demand for industrial and infrastructure inspection technology solutions worldwide." The center, which opened in June, is the North American hub for GE's Inspection Academy, which trains GE employees and customers in non-destructive testing (NDT). Critical in supporting safe operation and quality control, NDT enables the detection and evaluation of flaws in materials or structural properties, without producing harmful effects on the subjects being tested.
 
Jill Queenan, a GE spokeswoman, says the company does not disclose its hiring numbers, but that "GE has already significantly grown its workforce in Lewistown [currently above 250] to better support the world’s growing need for non-destructive testing solutions." 
 
 
Sources: Justin Land, Dow Chemical; Jill Queenan, GE
Writer: Elise Vider

PA universities dominate in national contest for innovative economic initiatives

Four innovative economic growth initiatives at Pennsylvania universities are among 20 finalists in a national competition recognizing cutting-edge programs.
 
Tim Hindes, director of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh-based University Economic Development Association (UEDA), the competition's sponsor, says the Commonwealth's heavy presence among the finalists demonstrates how "institutions in Pennsylvania are focusing their efforts on building economic development initiatives, initially around startup development and then supporting those startups."
 
Final judging will happen at the UEDA's upcoming annual summit, October 27-29 in Pittsburgh. Criteria will include replicability/scalability, sustainability and originality. 
 
Three of the four PA finalists are competing, along with a fourth from Iowa, in the "innovation and entrepreneurship" category. They are:
 
The Entrepreneurial Fellows Center at the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
The center provides founders and presidents of high-growth companies with networking, mentoring and more to advance the knowledge and skills needed to manage rapid growth and propel their businesses to the next level. 
 
The Innovation Café at the Penn State College of Medicine. 
The iCafe provides access to resources needed to bring an idea from the lab to the marketplace. It offers networking forums, educational programming, access to capital and entrepreneurial mentorship.  The College of Medicine recently launched an Innovation Fund to invest in promising technologies.
 
The Research Commercialization Program at Innovation Works
IW is on of the four Ben Franklin Technology Centers in PA, covering the southwestern part of the state. Its Research Commercialization Program is a collection of initiatives that utilize university partnerships to provide funding and support for the commercialization of innovative technologies. 
 
In addition, Lehigh University's Master of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship  s competing in the "talent development" category.  Started in 2012, the new graduate program is aimed at creating successful student startups with product development and company launch required for graduation. This May, Lehigh graduated its first class of 14 entrepreneurs, launching 10 new businesses. 
 
Source: Tim Hindes, UEDA
Writer: Elise Vider
 
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