The Brandywine LaunchBox, an innovation space for entrepreneurs and innovators, opened with a ribbon-cutting and dedication March 18 in Lansdowne.
Several dozen community leaders, elected officials and business owners joined Penn State President Eric J. Barron and Penn State Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells at the ceremony.
The Brandywine LaunchBox is located at 18 N. Lansdowne Ave. within the newly-renovated Utility Works MakerSpace, a project of the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation (LEDC).
Penn State Brandywine and the LEDC have collaborated for several years on projects to support entrepreneurship and small businesses.
“We have been anxiously awaiting this day — a day that symbolizes Penn State Brandywine’s commitment to our local community and to Penn State’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and service,” Chancellor Wells said. “In fact, our recently adopted five-year strategic plan includes objectives focused specifically on growing our economic and community partnerships and expanding our workforce and innovation efforts.”
How LaunchBox Lansdowne will work
The space will be a facility for classes, collaboration and creativity, she explained. The LaunchBox opens to entrepreneurs and small businesses a range of services and support provided by Penn State Brandywine students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as the resources of Invent Penn State.
The innovation hub in Lansdowne will tailor itself to the needs of the surrounding community and the Penn State Brandywine campus, with a mission to inspire and advance innovation and entrepreneurship.
“We have seen what is possible when you bring ambitious people together in a dedicated space,” Barron said. “The results are changing the way students think about solving real-world problems, filling community needs, and contributing to the region’s prosperity and growth.
“We look forward to doing even more for this area through partnerships and strategic investments that build upon existing relationships with community leaders.”
Meaghan Daly, a Penn State graduate who attended the Brandywine campus, shared her experience of starting her own fashion company while still a student and the support she received through Invent Penn State.
“I interned for a designer in New York City while I was a student at Penn State Brandywine,” she said. “At the end of my very first day of work, I got into the elevator after a long day. As the doors closed, I saw my reflection and a voice in my head said, ‘This is it! This is what I want to be — a designer!’”
In 2017, Daly was awarded an entrepreneurship mini-grant through the Invent Penn State program. The grant allowed her to focus on her business, purchase supplies and market her products.
She credits the support of Penn State Brandywine and Invent Penn State with giving her opportunities to grow her business quickly and take chances.
Other speakers at the event were Steve D’Ettorre, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; state Sen. Tim Kearney; state Rep. Gina Curry; and Lansdowne Mayor Magda Byrne and Council President Benjamin Hover.
About the Brandywine LaunchBox
The Brandywine LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, offering a mix of accelerator programs, co-working spaces, legal and intellectual property advice, maker spaces, and mentorship opportunities.
The LaunchBox provides resources for entrepreneurs and innovators, training and mentoring for startup businesses, and entrepreneurship-focused academic programs and workshops.
The LaunchBox is open to the Penn State community and the general public.
The Utility Works MakerSpace provides specialized equipment, including 3D printers, laser cutters, and large-format and vinyl printers, as well as co-working and meeting spaces.
Penn State Brandywine, with support from Invent Penn State and contributing partners, awarded $25,000 to the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation for renovations and equipment for a sound lab at the Lansdowne Avenue building.
It will provide a modern recording space with professional equipment and sound quality for podcasts and other recording and production projects.
Invent Penn State
The Invent Penn State initiative was launched in 2015 by Barron and is aimed at driving job creation, economic development and student career success by connecting aspiring entrepreneurs to those who can help bring their ideas to the marketplace.
Find out more on the Penn State Brandywine website.