Penn State Innovation Hub: Turning ideas into reality

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CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – After 5 years of planning, Penn State has opened a new building in downtown State College to serve students, innovators and community entrepreneurs.

The new, six story Penn State Innovation Hub is located on South Burrows street, with the purpose to drive economic development, job creation and student career success in the community.

Located on the first floor is the co-worker space.

“It’s designed for people to be able to come together, interact, work as teams, and grow their ideas,” said James Delattre, Director of the Office of Entrepreneurship & Commercialization.

Once they have their idea, Delattre says entrepreneurs can head over to the Makerspace to develop and test their prototype.

“So at the front we’ve got light prototyping, and assembly, as you move backwards there’s a wood working facility, allows people to very quickly develop 3D prototypes and models, there’s a spray booth, a welding booth and then medal working so people can fabricate products and test them,” listed Delattre.

The Mezzanine level is a digital design space, where there will be a suite just for 3D printers, and soon-to-come a Mobile App Center.

“For people that are interested in developing a new app,” said Delattre.

The top floor is a scenic one, with a 360 degree view of Happy Valley for any event.

Last, there’s the LaunchBox floor.

“Plop down in one of our comfy chairs, or over on one of our tables, connect to the wifi, work on your business, have meetings here, we have conference rooms on the other side,” said Lee Erickson, Jack White Family Director of the Happy Valley LaunchBox.

Providing no-cost services, support, and resources, the LaunchBox even connects entrepreneurs with experts.

“So we can reach out to them and ask them to answer questions about industry specific questions, questions about running a business and so it allows us to be able to give them more specific one-on-one advice on their business and the specific challenges that they’re facing,” said Erickson.

Entrepeneur Royce Dsouza says the LaunchBox is where he launched his local startup, Lessly.

“What we do is we consolidate orders for restaurants because right now restaurants have 3, 4, 5, differnt tablets, Uber Eats, Door Dash, Grub Hub, so we put all of that into one tablet for them. They get a unified receipt they’re happy, everything’s standardized,” said Dsouza.

According to Dsouza, he’s now saving restaurants close to $150,000 a year. He credits the LaunchBox for his success.

“They’re going to help you from the initial idea all the way to scaling, and a lot of businesses don’t know how to get from 0 to 1. So the LaunchBox helps you make sure you’re not starting off on sand, you’re starting off on concrete. Because the foundation is what builds companies and what attracts great talent to work for you,” said Dsouza.

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