News Column

Corbett Administration Awards Grant to Gannon University for Regional Entrepreneurship Programming

June 19, 2014



HARRISBURG, Pa., June 19 -- The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development issued the following news release:

Continuing to advance Governor Corbett's JOBS1st PA initiative, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker today announced the award of a Discovered in PA - Developed in PA grant to help launch the Integrated Business Transformation program which is designed to fast track the creation and development of technology-enabled businesses in Northwest Pennsylvania.

"Providing students and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed is an investment in developing the next generation of job creators," Walker said. "Entrepreneurs in Northwest Pennsylvania will have key tools and resources through the Integrated Business Transformation program to not only establish their business, but to thrive once they do so."

Supporting the governor's JOBS1stPA, Make It in PA initiative, Gannon University was awarded a $520,878 Discovered in PA - Developed in PA (D2PA) grant to support the Integrated Business Transformation (IBT) program.

Gannon University's Erie Technology Incubator, Small Business Development Center and College of Engineering and Business have partnered to launch IBT, a collaboration of business development organizations designed to fast track the creation and development of technology-enabled businesses.

"The Integrated Business Transformation program will support the vital synergy between key regional partners that is essential to the success of today's technology-driven entrepreneurs, businesses and our economy. Providing resources and the environment for learning and growth within Gannon University's new Center for Business Ingenuity, will not only accelerate existing businesses, but also inspire the next generation of leaders through student engagement," added Gannon University President Dr. Keith Taylor.

The program will build upon the best practices of successful technology accelerator programs through a combination of training and mentoring, micro-financing, support from the business school analytic teams, along with the technical assistance of the staff and resources of existing business development organizations uniquely familiar with the resources and economic environment of Northwest Pennsylvania.

Central to the program is the Technology Business Accelerator, an 8-week course for current and prospective entrepreneurs seeking a practical, intensive learning experience to stress test their ideas and their willingness to move forward with a business launch or an acceleration of their current enterprise. A microloan program for entrepreneurs is another component that will be introduced further along in the IBT initiative.

The Accelerator will train up to 60 entrepreneurs and will run four times over the 18 month period of the grant, at no cost to the entrepreneur. The program will culminate each session with a pitch presentation, with one pitch selected by a panel of judges to receive a $10,000 grant.

"Today, we are pleased to begin accepting applications for our September/October Accelerator, and look forward to providing Northwest Pennsylvania entrepreneurs with a high-caliber program that will stress test their ideas and validate their market readiness," stated Jeff Parnell, the Erie Technology Incubator's Executive Director.

Today's grant announcement continues the momentum of Gov. Corbett's JOBS1st PA initiative, which was first launched in 2012 and has created a comprehensive roadmap to economic recovery that harnessed the state's resources and talents to prioritize private-sector job creation and retention. Today, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate stands at a five-year low and jobs have been growing on a consistent basis for nearly four years.

D2PA was established by Governor Tom Corbett in 2011 to build capacity to support Pennsylvania businesses and to spur creativity and innovation in the provision of economic development services. Last fiscal year, the D2PA program supported initiatives tied to growing the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, business incubators, and education, workforce and economic opportunity collaborations.

More information is available by visiting www.ErieTech.org/Accelerator or by calling ETI at 814-459-6110.

For more information about Gov. Corbett's JOBS1st PA initiative, visit www.pa.gov.

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