Penn State Great Valley launches new student entrepreneurship program

In this country’s time of evolution and growth, we are often reminded of the many opportunities we have as citizens of this great nation. We’re living in an age that offers us the chance to pursue our ambitions and improve our lives.

For me, this meant becoming an entrepreneur and working in the innovative world of manufacturing. Every day I get the chance to be a part of the process that turns raw materials into massive state-of-the-art machinery.

Initially, however, I was apprehensive about this career choice. When my father recruited me to work for him 14 years ago at American Crane and Equipment Corporation, I wanted nothing to do with it. How fun could manufacturing be?

I could not have been more wrong. Working in manufacturing has been one of the most wonderful, challenging, and satisfying opportunities of my life. Where else do you get the chance to bring an idea designed on paper into physical existence?

The exciting journey I’ve taken to get where I am today has driven me to inspire and guide future generations. I want to motivate them to follow in the footsteps of the many innovative entrepreneurs that have made our country so great.

Thus, I am thrilled to have the honor of being a part of the Penn State REV-UP Center for Entrepreneurship. The program, operating in partnership with the Chester County Economic Development Council, aims to engage and encourage Penn State students, faculty, and community members to innovate commercially viable solutions that address existing and emerging business and social needs. It also supports businesses’ entrepreneurial efforts throughout the Philadelphia region.

Funded by a $50,000 seed grant through the Commonwealth’s Invent Penn State, the initiative aims to offer student enrichment and community outreach by helping to facilitate business partnerships, job creation, and economic development throughout Chester County. The grant that is fueling REV-UP is one of six awards given out to local campuses to expand the scope of Invent Penn State’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

The program will also offer a Lion Cage competition for entrepreneurs pitch their ideas. Through participation in this program, entrepreneurs not only share and discover talent but also bring innovative and entrepreneurial projects and ideas to the community. Entrepreneurs are given the chance to expose and promote their business, as well as brainstorm ideas of their choice with others. This multifaceted program encourages entrepreneurship and demonstrates valuable ways to create and expand a business.

REV-UP will provide the following services:

  • Guidance on technical, financial, business, legal, and market needs
  • Access to prototyping and fabrication facilities
  • Topical workshops by subject matter experts (e.g., design thinking, business plans)
  • New graduate certificate in New Ventures and Entrepreneurship
  • Warren V. Musser Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Funded internship with a startup company
  • Lion Cage competition to fund startups
  • Guided research and development support
  • Engagement with local business community
  • Entrepreneur-in-Residence program

As an alumna of Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies and a current member of its Advisory Board, I am honored to be part of a network so devoted to providing opportunities that unify students and community members.

REV-UP offers the chance to make a real impact on the future of our region, and through my work with this program, I aim to inspire community members to work hard for what they want, to make this world a better place for everyone, and to bring people’s visions and ideas to reality. This program gives me the opportunity to do so while helping fellow entrepreneurs and the local community. I encourage you to get involved with this exciting initiative.

Join us in our goal of fostering positive business mentorships and entrepreneurial success in the Greater Philadelphia region we call home. For more information about the REV-UP program, visit the Penn State Great Valley website or contact Faculty Director Doug Schumer at [email protected].

Karen Norheim is a Penn State Great Valley alumna and the Executive Vice President of American Crane & Equipment Corporation, located in Douglassville, PA.