DUBOIS, Pa. — The North Central PA LaunchBox powered by Penn State DuBois celebrated its official grand opening, almost three years after being established as a regional center for entrepreneurship and economic growth.
“Given the significance of the LaunchBox mission, we chose to postpone the event until we could gather in person,” said Jungwoo Ryoo, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State DuBois.
Today’s event was attended by elected officials, community leaders, economic partners, endowment supporters, and Penn State leadership, including Eric Barron, president of Penn State.
Invent Penn State started with humble beginnings in 2015 by a group of individuals with limited resources who saw the potential for economic development and student career success. It has grown exponentially, making a vast impact on the Pennsylvania economy and communities across the Commonwealth.
The NCPA LaunchBox serves seven northern Pennsylvania counties and provides an array of services and connections. The main location, at 2 East Long Avenue in DuBois, provides space for co-working to organizations, entrepreneurs, and the community, classroom education, and event space.
David and Debbie Ross are two of the people who are helping ensure that this LaunchBox will be a community resource for years to come.
—Eric Barron , president of Penn State
Invent Penn State focuses on the power of partnership, and the NCPA LaunchBox holds this to be true with over 50 regional partners, eight partners occupying space in the LaunchBox, multiple individual supporters, and eight endowments to date.
“David and Debbie Ross are two of the people who are helping ensure that this LaunchBox will be a community resource for years to come,” said Barron.
The Ross’ established the Dr. David S. and Deborah M. Ross Endowment in support of the North Central PA LaunchBox in August of 2021, and after visiting the Idea Lab last week, decided to double their investment with a new pledge of $100,000, making it the largest endowment supporting the LaunchBox to date.
We came for a visit and saw the Idea Lab, the work that’s being done, and the plans that are being made for the future and wanted to make sure the LaunchBox grew quickly now and was able to do more in the future.
—David Ross , endowment supporter
“Debbie and I were really impressed with the planned work for the LaunchBox in the northern part of Pennsylvania, I’m from Jefferson County originally with my family businesses serving Elk, Clearfield, and other surrounding counties also, and went to DuBois campus. We came for a visit and saw the Idea Lab, the work that’s being done, and the plans that are being made for the future and wanted to make sure the LaunchBox grew quickly now and was able to do more in the future,” said David Ross.
The Idea Lab, located in the Swift Building on the Penn State DuBois campus, houses 3-D printers, scanning hardware and software, and an industrial vinyl printer and cutter. It is open to anyone in the community seeing assistance developing prototypes, reverse engineering, inspection of parts, and printing for start-ups and existing industries.
Also speaking today was M. Scott McBride, retired Penn State DuBois chancellor and chief academic officer, who said, “when I arrived at Penn State DuBois in March of 2017 as chancellor, my first task was to engage with stakeholders throughout the region to understand the best way for Penn State DuBois to extend the Invent Penn State initiative to our north central region.”
Locally, McBride had a vision of bringing the region together to join forces and resources to grow the economy. The LaunchBox was developed to adequately serve this rural area of Pennsylvania by bringing a large majority of the available services to a single point of contact within the North Central PA LaunchBox.
“It’s a wonderful thing to see so many companies, organizations, and people come together to improve the economy and foster entrepreneurship and growth. It is truly amazing,” said Bradley Lashinsky, director of the NCPA LaunchBox.
About Invent Penn State
Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success.
The Invent Penn State LaunchBox and Innovation Hub Network is made up of 21 innovation spaces embedded in Penn State campus communities offering no-cost co-working space, makerspace, accelerator programs, pitch competitions, speaker series, access to experts and mentors, and legal and IP advice through Penn State Law clinics. Five years since opening, the Invent Penn State LaunchBox and Innovation Hub Network has supported 3,325 community entrepreneurs, created 194.5 jobs, and helped to launch 164 new Pennsylvania companies. Gifts to support the network, as well as select economic development initiatives across the commonwealth, are a priority of the University’s current fundraising campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.”
To learn more about how to make a gift and secure a match before the campaign concludes on June 30, contact Jean Wolf at [email protected]. Information about the campaign is available at greaterpennstate.psu.edu.
To find a location near you, visit invent.psu.edu/programs/pa-innovation-hubs.