MEDIA, Pa. — Joined by several dozen community leaders, elected officials and business owners, Penn State President Eric J. Barron and Penn State Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells presided over a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony on March 18 to mark the opening of the Brandywine LaunchBox — an innovation space that provides no-cost resources for entrepreneurs and innovators.
The Brandywine LaunchBox is located at 18 N. Lansdowne Ave. in Lansdowne within the newly renovated Utility Works MakerSpace, which is a project of the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation (LEDC). Penn State Brandywine and the LEDC have collaborated for several years on projects to support entrepreneurship and small businesses.
“We have been anxiously awaiting this day — a day that symbolizes Penn State Brandywine’s commitment to our local community and to Penn State’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and service,” Wells said. “In fact, our recently adopted five-year strategic plan includes objectives focused specifically on growing our economic and community partnerships and expanding our workforce and innovation efforts.”
“We have been anxiously awaiting this day — a day that symbolizes Penn State Brandywine’s commitment to our local community and to Penn State’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and service.”
—Marilyn J. Wells , Brandywine chancellor
Wells noted she was proud of the accomplishments of the past few years, and even more excited about what the future holds.
“This space is certainly impressive and will be a wonderful facility for classes, collaboration and creativity,” she said. “But the impact of the Brandywine LaunchBox goes beyond these walls. For local entrepreneurs and small businesses, this LaunchBox opens the door to a wide range of services and support offered by the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Penn State Brandywine, as well as the vast resources of Invent Penn State.”
Barron explained that each innovation hub is unique, shaped by the distinctive needs of the campus and surrounding community, but with a common mission to inspire and advance innovation and entrepreneurship.
“We have seen what is possible when you bring ambitious people together in a dedicated space,” Barron said. “The results are changing the way students think about solving real-world problems, filling community needs, and contributing to the region’s prosperity and growth. We look forward to doing even more for this area through partnerships and strategic investments that build upon existing relationships with community leaders.”
“We have seen what is possible when you bring ambitious people together in a dedicated space.”
—Eric J. Barron , Penn State president
Meaghan Daly, a Penn State graduate who attended the Brandywine campus, shared her experience of starting her own fashion company while still a student and the support she received through Invent Penn State.
“I interned for a designer in New York City while I was a student at Penn State Brandywine,” she said. “At the end of my very first day of work, I got into the elevator after a long day. As the doors closed, I saw my reflection and a voice in my head said, ‘This is it! This is what I want to be — a designer!’”
In 2017, Daly was awarded an entrepreneurship mini-grant through the Invent Penn State program. The grant allowed her to focus on her business, purchase supplies and market her products.
“Without the support of Penn State Brandywine and Invent Penn State, I would not be where I am today,” she said. “I would not have had the opportunity to grow my business so quickly, and most importantly, to take chances.”
Other speakers at the event were Steve D’Ettorre, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; state Sen. Tim Kearney; state Rep. Gina Curry; Delaware County Council Chair Monica Taylor; and Lansdowne Mayor Magda Byrne and Council President Benjamin Hover.
The Brandywine LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, offering a mix of accelerator programs, co-working spaces, legal and intellectual property advice, maker spaces, and mentorship opportunities. The LaunchBox provides resources for entrepreneurs and innovators, training and mentoring for startup businesses, and entrepreneurship-focused academic programs and workshops. The LaunchBox is open to the Penn State community and the general public.
The Utility Works MakerSpace provides specialized equipment, including 3D printers, laser cutters, and large-format and vinyl printers, as well as co-working and meeting spaces.
During the dedication ceremony, Wells announced that with the support of Invent Penn State and contributing partners, Penn State Brandywine would award $25,000 to the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation for renovations and equipment for a sound lab that will be located in the building. The sound lab will provide a modern recording space with professional equipment and sound quality for podcasts and other recording and production projects.
The Invent Penn State initiative was launched in 2015 by Barron and is aimed at driving job creation, economic development and student career success by connecting aspiring entrepreneurs to those who can help bring their ideas to the marketplace.