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Harrisburg, February 5, 2018 – Penn State University President Eric J. Barron announced today that the Invent Penn State program has awarded Penn State Hazleton a three-year $150,000 grant through its Commonwealth Campus Seed Funding Program.

The funding will inject $50,000 per year for three years into the THInc program (The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative), which is a network of sites and services in southern Luzerne County. Penn State Hazleton plays the crucial role of education provider within the THInc network.

The funding will also be used for the operations of the THInc program’s downtown Hazleton incubator, which will be a new center for entrepreneurship and innovation education within the community. The incubator will be located at 13-15 West Broad Street in the heart of the newly rebranded Arts and Innovation District in downtown Hazleton.

Greater Hazleton’s CAN DO and CAN BE, which is the region’s primary economic development organization, and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress (DHAP), will collaborate with Penn State University to create a program that offers premier entrepreneurial support services, which will fuel longstanding economic development throughout the region.

“Combining quality education from Penn State University with innovation and entrepreneurship creates a formula that will drive economic growth in the Greater Hazleton region,” said Senator Yudichak (D-Luzerne). “Penn State University’s investment will provide the necessary resources for our important collaborators to provide a workspace for the residents of the Greater Hazleton to start, grow, and expand a business.”

“The investment of Penn State in our downtown urban community is highly laudable and greatly appreciated,” said Representative Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne). “Our economy in northeastern Pennsylvania needs every bit of stimulation and growth available to it. As we know, small business start-ups become job creators. We are hopeful that by supporting entrepreneurs with training, expertise and a location in which to grow, we will be fostering small ideas into the ‘next big thing.'”

Invent Penn State was launched in 2015 by Penn State President Eric Barron and is a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success.

“We are very pleased to have our seed grant application for THInc awarded by the University and we are excited about the potential for downtown Hazleton, the community, and our students,” said Dr. Gary M. Lawler, Chancellor for Penn State University Hazleton Campus. “This is a true collaboration with multiple partners beyond Penn State Hazleton including; the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, CAN DO, CAN BE, and the Society of Hispanic Business Professionals.”

“The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress has been working closely with Penn State Hazleton for the past three years to help expand their educational programs and establish an innovation hub in downtown Hazleton’s new Arts & Innovation District,” said Krista Schneider, Executive Director for DHAP. “This includes acquiring a building to house a small business incubator, and since then we have raised $450,000 in state grants, tax credits, and private donations from six local banks, to renovate the property for Penn State’s entrepreneurial programs.”

“The THInc program is going to have a tremendous impact on the development of entrepreneurship in Greater Hazleton.” said Jocelyn Sterenchock, CAN DO coordinator of entrepreneurial services. “We look forward to partnering with Penn State Hazleton, the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress and the numerous other community partners involved to use our combined resources to foster a spirit of innovation throughout the area.”

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