DuBOIS, Pa. — Celebrating the vision and leadership of former chancellor M. Scott McBride in his mission to bring the Invent Penn State initiative to Penn State DuBois, the M. Scott McBride Endowment in Support of the North Central PA LaunchBox has been established by the campus. Intended to support the LaunchBox in stimulating economic prosperity in the North Central PA region, this $80,000 endowment has been funded with $40,000 in contributions by Penn State DuBois, as well as colleagues and friends of McBride, and with $40,000 in matching funds provided by Penn State through the LaunchBox Matching Program.
The LaunchBox Matching Program is designed to incentivize gifts that provide an operating endowment for each Penn State campus LaunchBox or innovation hub. Gifts that create endowments at any of the 21 innovation hubs across Pennsylvania established through the Invent Penn State initiative will be matched 1:1 by Penn State up to a total of $1 million. Additional contributions to the endowment can be made by anyone at any time. The matching program expires June 30, 2022, or until the funds are utilized.
“As I read about the endowment that was established in my name, the tears rolled from my eyes,” McBride said, recollecting the letter informing him about the endowment sent by Penn State DuBois Interim Chancellor Ping Werner. “I’m incredibly humbled and grateful for this gesture of recognition. The establishment of this and other endowments is essential for the sustainability of the North Central PA LaunchBox.”
The sustainability of the LaunchBox, in turn, means that a vital resource for business owners, industry professionals, and budding entrepreneurs throughout the region will continue to grow in two locations: the Innovation Hub at 2 West Park Ave. in DuBois, and the Idea Lab, located in the Swift Building on campus at Penn State DuBois.
Launched in 2019, the North Central PA LaunchBox provides services such as assistance in writing business plan development, assistance with grant applications, educational seminars for entrepreneurs, workforce training, and more. Additionally, the LaunchBox worked with the Clearfield County commissioners to process applications from area businesses seeking grant funding through the second round of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP). These endeavors resulted in the distribution of $500,000 in the second round of CARES Act funding, and $897,000 in CHIRP funding, helping Clearfield County businesses to rally back from losses suffered during shut-downs in 2020.
The downtown location contains offices for industry partners, a conference area, and co-working space that provide facilities that fit the needs of LaunchBox clients performing research and development for their products and services.
Furthermore, the LaunchBox innovates solutions for area businesses and individuals in the on-campus Idea Lab. Featuring 12 3D printers, 3D scanning hardware and software, and a vinyl printer/cutter, the lab is available to anyone in search of help in developing a prototype, reverse engineering and inspection.
Penn State DuBois students also benefit by having access to the LaunchBox and all available assets while being encouraged to delve into the world of entrepreneurship. A new entrepreneurship minor was created to work in conjunction with this initiative. This interdisciplinary degree will help students, regardless of their chosen major, learn how to bring ideas for products or services to fruition.
“The nurturing and development of sustainable partnerships focused on supporting manufacturing competitiveness and workforce needs, growing and attracting talented entrepreneurs and innovators, and creating the new high‐knowledge, high‐technology businesses for the region was the vision and should remain the focus,” McBride said of the growing reach of the LaunchBox. “Entrepreneurship and innovation are not only about starting new businesses — it’s an attitude, a way of thinking, an approach to problem‐solving and creating inventive solutions. The opportunities for the NCPA LaunchBox to serve the region are limitless.”
Since 2015, the Invent Penn State initiative has awarded seed grants to 21 campuses to create innovation hubs, and to date, the NCPA LaunchBox has served more than 14,000 clients, including 24 new startups. This mission, continuously driven through collaboration with area industry and communities, exemplifies the path McBride envisioned for the LaunchBox at the very beginning.
McBride recalled, “I’ve always been interested in systems that function as efficiently and effectively as possible. I saw the LaunchBox project as an initiative where it was essential that the economic development forces in the region partnered to function as an interdependent system. That idea really excited me. I thought that if other stakeholders could see and embrace this vision, the economic health and overall well-being of the region could be enhanced.”
“The vision and passion Scott has shown throughout this initiative has proven to be quite successful in such a short time,” said North Central PA LaunchBox Director Brad Lashinsky. “Scott understands the power of regionalization and partnership for rural Pennsylvania.”
Lashinsky is available to assist businesses and individuals in finding ways to meet their unique needs. He can be reached at 814-375-4704 or [email protected].
To support the M. Scott McBride Endowment in Support of the North Central PA LaunchBox, or for information on all giving at Penn State DuBois, contact Director of Development Jean Wolf at 814-372-3038 or [email protected].
Support for the endowment will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.