Penn State Fayette, Fay-Penn partner to open startup accelerator

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, in partnership with the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, held a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Fayette LaunchBox, a startup accelerator facility, on April 11.

LaunchBox is a signature program developed by Invent Penn State, a $30 million initiative to generate economic development, create jobs and drive student career success. The initiative, started in 2015 by Penn State President Eric J. Barron, redefines the University’s land-grant mission to include entrepreneurship and innovation programs, including the development of “Innovation Hubs” in campus communities across the Commonwealth.

“We selected Penn State Fayette to receive a $50,000 seed grant based on a unique culture of innovation, commitment to developing entrepreneurship, and potential for future success,” said Barron. “This facility will provide a space to leverage the intellectual capital of our students, faculty and the surrounding community for the betterment of the area.”

The Fayette LaunchBox will serve as a no-cost business accelerator designed to connect early-stage startups with resources and support necessary for growth. The facility will offer regional entrepreneurs and University affiliates access to an event center, collaborative workspaces, classrooms, light manufacturing labs, 3-D printers and other prototyping tools. Additional resources will include a microgrant program, a mentorship program, product development services, legal and business services, pitch competitions, community workshops and a speaker series.

Bob Shark, executive director of Fay-Penn, said, “Fayette LaunchBox, in combination with the resources of Penn State University, including the new Engineering and Arts suite at the Fayette campus, and with Fay-Penn’s business development and support services, now make 1040 Eberly Way a first-stop shop for businesses of every type to be successful in Fayette County.”

Renovations at the Fay Penn Economic Development Council began in late 2017, with support from Chevron Corporation, COE Distributing, W.B. Mason, Bridgeway Capital, and the Uniontown and Connellsville Walmart locations.

Penn State Fayette and the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council have partnered for over 25 years to stimulate economic growth in southwestern Pennsylvania. This collaboration will connect LaunchBox entrepreneurs to a myriad of federal, state, and local government programs and officials. Pennsylvania State Senator and Penn State Fayette alumnus Pat Stefano was in attendance and praised the joint initiative.

“Fayette LaunchBox represents a paradigm shift in economic development efforts in this region,” said Charles Patrick, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Fayette. “We are grateful to be able to bring the Invent Penn State initiative to Fayette County.”

To request information about Fayette Launchbox, email [email protected] or call 724-437-7913.