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Barron Outlines Vision for Penn State's Role in Local Economic Development

by on June 26, 2014 1:18 PM

Penn State President Eric Barron outlined his plan for economic development before the Centre County business community Thursday, addressing the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Barron's plan included the following elements:

- Develop an economic development culture by making a component of the College of Business available to every Penn State student regardless of the major field of study. Enabling students access to a business or entrepreneurial minor would enable students in any area, from engineering to art, to have a strong business sense upon graduation.

- Place an emphasis on assisting faculty with concepts that could transition to marketplace.

- Offer five $50,000 awards for start-up companies in competitions judged by field experts based on a concept's potential for success.

- Create a Penn State branded platform to put intellectual property on display for investors and venture capitalists that includes a specific opportunity for alumni to invest in young companies.

- Create a Student Innovation Foundation that offers a welcoming environment with staff who will assist students with implementing their entrepreneurial ambitions.

- Develop partnerships with public and private entities to assist entrepreneurs.

- Create an entity outside of the university that would draft proposals for government grants designated for entrepreneurs.

"With all different elements just think how powerful intuition would be," Barron says.

Barron also says it's important to ensure Centre County has a reputation for start-up businesses so that young people want to launch a business locally following graduation.

"Do they realize this is the place they can be successful?" he asks.

Barron also says the university must better connect with the business community to build better relationship and partnerships that help the economy grow.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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