Helping Entrepreneurs of All Ages Sharpen Their Entrepreneurial Tools
Photo courtesy of Penn State News

Per its mission, the Penn State Small Business Development Center helps businesses start, grow, and prosper with no-cost, confidential consulting services and seminars in Centre and Mifflin counties. Their services have transformed community and student entrepreneurs’ dreams into realities, transmitting the knowledge and skills required to commercialize research or bring a technology to market.

Among SBDC’s success stories is Otto’s Pub & Brewery. Co-owner Roger Garthwaite sought their expertise in business planning as they set their sights on a separate brewing facility in 2008. Vamos! Lion Chariot’s founder Todd Miner leaned on the SBDC’s financial and legal consulting services while getting his pedicab service up and running. More recently, Matt Woods of X Material Processing came to the SBDC for help creating a business model and pitch to solicit funds for his multi-metal 3D printing technology company.

Beyond personalized services tailored to meet the needs of individuals’ entrepreneurial pursuits, the Penn State SBDC’s seminars are designed to touch a broader audience. It recently extended its services to summer camp attendees, imparting business savvy to entrepreneurs in the making.

Focus on and Support for Entrepreneurship:  An Interview with Ron HussThis December marks Ron Huss’s 20th anniversary working in the Office of Technology Management. Huss has been managing the office since 2000, and in 2008, he was promoted to Associate Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer, where he provides leadership of Penn State’s vast intellectual-property assets, which comprises thousands of patents, patent applications, copyrights, and other IP.

Huss earned his bachelor of arts degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Before his tenure at Penn State, Huss worked in grant management, and even worked on beer fermentation from a biochemistry standpoint.

Since Huss began working with university technology management, there has been a big shift in the perspective on entrepreneurship. We caught up with Ron to get his thoughts on Invent Penn State and its effect on entrepreneurship in our community.

Congrats to the Summer 2016 LaunchBox Graduates!

Congratulations to the Summer 2016 Happy Valley LaunchBox Graduates!

On Wednesday, July 27, the 10 graduating LaunchTeams of the Summer 2016 Happy Valley LaunchBox cohort graduated from the 10-week business incubator program on Allen Street in State College. The 10 team gave 3-minute "rocket pitches" as part of the graduation ceremony.

Spotlight on a Penn State Innovation Park Success Story: SalimetricsSalimetrics, a global leader in salivary bioscience, has been successfully bridging the areas of academic research and product development for nearly twenty years. The company was co-founded by Penn State researchers Doug Granger and Eve Schwartz, together with State College investor Dick Supina, and began in a tiny basement lab at Penn State—the Behavioral Endocrinology Lab (BEL).

Researchers at the BEL study the relationship between biomarkers (e.g. the hormones cortisol and testosterone) and behavioral patterns such as aggressiveness. Measurement of these biomarkers was historically made using blood serum, which has obvious drawbacks. The creative genius behind work at Penn State’s BEL, eventually transferred to Salimetrics for commercial applications, was to substitute the use of blood-serum assays with salivary assays.

Analytical Flavor Systems Holds the Key to an Optimized Future for Food and Beverage Producers

Flavor by NumbersHow do you turn flavor into numbers? For Jason Cohen, CEO of Analytical Flavor Systems, that question guided his studies and research at Penn State – research that would become the backbone of his predictive manufacturing company.

In food and beverage production, quality and consistency are key, making contamination the enemy to successful brand upkeep and customer loyalty. And with the craft-beverage industry on the rise, quality and consistency are the guarantors of a competitive edge.

Enter Analytical Flavor Systems, whose product Gastrograph is a quality control tool with unprecedented capabilities. A blend of sensory science, data mining, and analytical chemistry equip the system to constantly monitor flavor profiles and anticipate minor flaws that could have major consequences.

After all, Cohen said, “The measure of a science is the ability to make correct predictions.” But in the realm of flavor? “Sensory science is barely explanatory at its best.” In other words, this “science” has been perhaps better defined as an art.