A “Discovered in PA – Developed in PA” grant will help York College expand its work in entrepreneurship.
C. Alan Walker, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, was scheduled to be at York College this morning to announce a grant for the “Investing in a Region’s Knowledge Resources” initiative.
Jeff Vermeulen, executive director of the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship and director of government and corporate relations at the college, said the grant program, aimed at increasing economic development, meshed well with work going on at the college. The grant of just more than $200,000 will be used in a few areas.
Part will be used for capital improvements at the business incubator, its wet lab facility, and its 3D printing capabilities. For example, the wet lab facility was built with excess capacity for one incubator tenant lined up at the time, but now there are two and they are bursting at the seams, Vermeulen said.
Companies provide a great opportunity for students to work side by side with experts in the field as well as those on campus, he said.
“Every day that goes by that we’re not on the edge of where they’re going, we think of ourselves as going too slow,” Vermeulen said. “Thankfully the Commonwealth agreed and is willing to make an investment.”
The center would also like to build on programming done for outside businesses in the past, Vermeulen said. For example, the center has hosted business plan contests for students and might be able to open a competition regionally to “budding entrepreneurs,” he said.
“We’re also thinking about ways the college can be a catalyst for economic development, community development here in our neighborhood and along our border,” Vermeulen said.
There’s been work done on Jackson Street with property owners and the city, and the college also wants to look at the commercial properties around it, looking at examples of what other colleges and universities have done to be a catalyst for commercial development.
Walker said in a news release that providing students and entrepreneurs with tools to succeed is an investment in the next generation of job creators.
The college’s project “will provide job and entrepreneurial opportunities to ensure the students who are educated here can find a good-paying job right here in South Central Pennsylvania,” he said in the release.