Free seminar offers business advice for student entrepreneurs

University Park, Pa. -- Chris Gawryla, a 2007 Penn State graduate in turfgrass management science, invented a product to efficiently draw lines on turfgrass. Now his Gawryla Grip is sold through a distributor and he has been featured in sports-related magazines. Penn State sophomore Ron Thomas is the owner of Rise Above Entertainment, which features bike stunt riders who perform at nearly 1,000 events per year all over the country. In order to pursue his education while running his business, he recently changed his business model around to also manage teams. And management and information systems major Eric Morgenstern’s new Lioneeds service delivers convenience items to Penn State students on weekends from evening to the wee morning hours.

These are just a few Penn Staters who followed through with business ideas while still students. The Penn State Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) First Step Seminar is designed exclusively for entrepreneurial-minded students like them, as well as faculty and staff, who may have an idea for a business and need help carrying it out. The seminar offers the basics on starting a business, from assessing ideas to regulations and obtaining financing. It will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, in room 103 of the Bank of America Career Services Center on Penn State's University Park campus.

Jason Brewer and a partner had already started a Web design business when he was an undergrad at Penn State majoring in film. After graduation Brewer contacted the SBDC for free assistance putting financial information together. “The SBDC was especially helpful to us, starting with minimal resources and at such a young age. They guided our creative-oriented principals through a lot of the intimidating business and accounting paperwork that was foreign to us at the time,” said Brewer, whose business, Brolik Productions, is now a recognized fixture in Philadelphia. What advice can he offer students? “Be aggressive. Don’t wait for someone to notice you and don’t let anyone’s opinion slow you down.”

The seminar is free and pre-registration is required. Interested participants can call (814) 863-4293 or register online at

Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 centers. The Penn State SBDC provides free business assistance to small firms and business start-ups in Centre and Mifflin counties, enabling them to compete and grow in today’s highly competitive global economy. For more information, visit online. Penn State SBDC is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015