Over the past five years, the College of Information Sciences and Technology has put together an event called IST Startup Week, but this year the event is being expanded into a university-wide weeklong event called Penn State Startup Week with the goal to showcase the work of entrepreneurial leaders and give students the unique opportunity to engage with them.
On Monday, April 17, Startup Week will begin and the work that nine academic colleges and two administrative units will finally come to fruition. The planned events are intended to connect entrepreneurship with a wide array of disciplines and industries. There will be six tracks that attendees can choose to follow including Driving Digital Innovation, Enhancing Health, Advancing the Arts and Humanities, Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources, Transforming Education, and Impacting the World.
“Penn State Startup Week will build on the University’s continuing efforts to foster innovation and entrepreneurship,” President Barron said. “Our goal is to inspire students to pursue entrepreneurial careers and to equip them with the resources and tools they need to succeed.”
Barron’s goal is thoroughly accomplished by Startup Week this year by giving students the opportunity to participate in workshops, attend mentoring sessions, connect and network with entrepreneurs, and listen to presentations by industry innovators. Additionally, there will be several pitch competitions throughout the week in which students will attempt to win seed funding, access to resources, and even trips to entrepreneurship conferences.
“Startup Week demonstrates Penn State’s commitment to exploring innovation and providing opportunities for students across the University to gain knowledge from industry leaders that can help support and advance their entrepreneurial passions,” Dean of IST Andrew Sears said.
Startup Week will end on Friday, April 21, but not without boasting an impressive series of keynote speakers. From 11:30 AM to 2:15 PM, the HUB’s Alumni Hall will feature back to back presentations from entrepreneurs like Eric Franchi, a Penn State alumnus who sold his startup for $100 million, and Jerome Griffith, the CEO and President of Lands’ End. There will also be an entrepreneurship panel focusing on what entrepreneurs wish they had known before getting started with David Rusenko, the Co-Founder of Weebly, and Neil Devani, an investor with Singularity Holdings. Startup Week will conclude with a talk from Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit and Co-Founder of Hipmunk.