Lehigh Valley

Penn State Lehigh Valley wins seed funding to launch new alliance

New project will help stimulate economic development in downtown Allentown

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- Penn State Lehigh Valley is one of six campuses that received a seed funding award for $50,000 to enhance local partnerships and entrepreneurial environments as part of Penn State President Eric Barron's INVENT Penn State initiative.  

In January 2015, President Barron announced a new initiative for the University—one focused on leveraging Penn State’s research, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to bring to market needed ideas, products, and services. Called “INVENT Penn State,” the initiative is a collaboration, one in which students, faculty and campuses work with businesses and communities across the Commonwealth to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians and, ultimately, the people of the world.Barron has committed $30 million to putting into place the organization and people to guide and support its partners along their entrepreneurial pathways: working with students to encourage ideation, then helping them to kick-start those ideas into promising new companies; collaborating with communities and corporations, making available Penn State’s massive intellectual resources; partnering with alumni to mentor students, shepherd fledgling businesses and invest in promising, innovative startups.

The Penn State Lehigh Valley SEED Project, as it is currently known, will be an alliance of Penn State Lehigh Valley, public and private entities, and for-profit and non-profit organizations. The alliance will create links between students interested in sustainability and entrepreneurship, recent graduates looking to be business leaders, and forward-looking established corporations with the goal to create an urban entrepreneurship ecosystem that will support and stimulate the long-term economic development of Allentown and the region. Downtown Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) is a special taxing district that encourages development and revitalization. This is already an energized area of economic development that the Penn State Lehigh Valley SEED Project will build on.

“We are working to create an economic engine that would benefit from the expertise of faculty and the energy of students looking to apply their University knowledge to support the community financially and socially,” said Kenneth Thigpen, director of academic affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “This initiative will show students the monetary value of creative thinking and open their minds to the practical application of their education.”

The proposed initiatives include a wide variety of projects ranging from a self-sustaining house, health and wellness promotion, and mobile app development to drone exploration and personalized funeral urns. 

Other campuses that submitted winning proposals are Penn State Abington; Penn State Erie, The Behrend College; Penn State Harrisburg; Penn State New Kensington; and Penn State Wilkes-Barre.

About Penn State Lehigh Valley

Penn State Lehigh Valley provides a Penn State University education in a small campus setting that integrates individualized teaching, research, and dynamic community outreach. With its convenient location in Center Valley, traditional students and adult learners can choose from many options including bachelor’s and associate degree programs, and access to the nearly 160 academic programs offered by Penn State. In addition, the campus’ diverse Continuing Education and Outreach programs offer opportunities for professional development, business training, and youth programming. For more information, visit www.lv.psu.edu.

Last Updated May 18, 2015