Penn State Berks to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 16-22

October 22, 2015

READING, Pa. — In today’s economic environment, entrepreneurship is one of the most important aspects of our economy. In an effort to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit among students and to seek partnerships with business and industry that foster economic growth for the local community, Penn State Berks — along with all of Penn State University — is celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 16–22. Penn State Berks has several events planned for aspiring student entrepreneurs, and some are open to the public.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 12:15 p.m.–1:30 p.m., Room 245, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building
Global Opportunities for an Entrepreneurial Solar Energy Company
Paul Eisenhuth, CEO of CEWA Technologies, and Connie Faylor, regional manager of the Greater Reading/Berks/Schuylkill Ben Franklin Technology Partners, will be guest speakers in the campus' entrepreneurial mindset class. Founded in April 2009, CEWA Technologies develops and markets CSP (concentrating solar power) point concentrator dishes that utilize solar technology in innovative ways to generate sustainable power at a price competitive with fossil fuels. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is one of the nation’s longest-running technology-based economic development programs. For more than 31 years, BFTP has provided both early-stage and established companies with funding, business and technical expertise and access to a network of innovative, expert resources. This presentation is open to students of the college.

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Room 244, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building
Penn State Berks students in the Entrepreneurship Club and entrepreneurship and innovation minor will hold a workshop for Reading School District high school students enrolled in the Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP). The PEPP students will learn about entrepreneurship, self-assessment, 3-D printing, and writing a business plan. The workshop will begin by focusing on what it means to be an entrepreneur. The PEPP students will learn how to become innovative thinkers, and through the self-assessment portion of the workshop, the students will learn about themselves, their passions, networking, and generating new ideas. Finally, they will be taught the basics of writing a business plan and how to incorporate their plan with the needs of their community.

PEPP is an early-intervention collaboration between Penn State Berks and the Reading School District. The mission of the program is to enhance academic preparedness and motivation levels in its Reading School District participants to pursue higher education. PEPP also recruits and trains students from Penn State Berks, most of whom are childhood and early adolescent education majors, to act as PEPP learning assistants.

Abdullah Konak, professor of information sciences and technology, and Sadan Kulturel-Konak, professor of management information systems, coordinator of the entrepreneurship and innovation minor, and adviser of the Entrepreneurship Club at Penn State Berks, are faculty advisers and workshop co-coordinators.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 3-4 p.m., Room 248 and Room 114, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building
Ecoult: An International Success Story
Jason Hoffman, senior engineer with Ecoult, will speak about the entrepreneurial company that has created a revolutionary energy storage system. Hoffman will provide a history of Ecoult and a description of the relationship between Ecoult and its parent company, East Penn Manufacturing Company, located in Lyon Station. He will also provide an overview of the unique Ecoult technology and the applications of that technology. In 2013, Ecoult was named in the Cleantech Group’s prestigious 2013 Global Cleantech 100.

Ecoult developed a revolutionary battery storage system featuring new technology invented and incubated by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The new venture, which is supported by international corporate, government and research partners, is expected to change the role that solar and wind energy play in the electricity market by smoothing the volatility of renewable power and allowing it to be integrated seamlessly into the grid.

At Penn State Berks, Ecoult batteries were used in the microgrid located in the automation lab in the Gaige building. Hoffman will provide an explanation of how Ecoult batteries work in the microgrid.

This event is sponsored by the Penn State Berks entrepreneurship and innovation minor, and it is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat at this presentation, contact Kathy Cavanaugh at 610-396-6220.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 6:30–7:30 p.m., Room 246, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building
Helping PA Entrepreneurs Reach Global Markets: Resources and Assistance Available through the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development
This program will provide an overview of the types of assistance that are available to entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development. Guest speakers will include Katherine Skopp, Director of Global Partnerships, PA Department of Community and Economic Development Office of International Business Development, and others. This event is sponsored by the Penn State Berks Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor, and it is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat at this presentation, contact Cavanaugh at 610-396-6220.

In addition to these events and lectures, Kulturel-Konak and Konak are taking their creativity and innovation workshop class, composed of four Penn State Berks students, to Nicaragua from Nov. 21–29. There they will reside at the Fabretto Center, an educational center whose mission is to empower underserved children and their families to reach their full potential, improve their livelihoods, and take advantage of economic opportunity through education and nutrition, The faculty and students will teach the Nicaraguan youth business skills so that they may become self sufficient.

Penn State Berks is committed to entrepreneurship and economic development. The Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) Center was established in the fall of 2011 as part of the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. The CEED Center is an extension of the college’s entrepreneurship and innovation minor. This interdisciplinary 18-credit minor is designed to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and leadership in students.

Since the CEED Center was established, it has sponsored several Entrepreneurship Speaker Series panel discussions, composed of both student entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses and local entrepreneurs from the business community. In addition, several collaborative initiatives have been undertaken between students, faculty, business and industry leaders, and members of organizations from around the world.

For more information on these projects or the CEED Center, contact Kulturel-Konak at 610-396-6137 or via email at sadan@psu.edu.

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Last Updated October 29, 2015