Penn State Berks to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week

Lisa Baldi
November 07, 2019

READING, Pa. — As part of Penn State’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, Penn State Berks will hold a variety of events on and off campus for aspiring entrepreneurs from Nov. 11 to 15. The events are sponsored by the college’s Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) Center and the Berks LaunchBox, an incubation hub located in the city of Reading.

Creativity and Entrepreneurship Workshop

Noon to 2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 11, Room 145, Thun Library, Penn State Berks

This event is for Reading School District PEPP students only.

The Flemming CEED Center will hold a workshop for Reading School District high school students enrolled in the Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP). Participants will focus on creativity and learn about entrepreneurship, self-assessment, and writing a business plan. They will learn how to become innovative thinkers, and through the self-assessment portion of the workshop, they will learn about themselves, their passions, networking and generating new ideas. Students will work as a team on a series of creative problem-solving activities and find innovative solutions for issues in their communities. Finally, they will learn the basics of a business model and practice developing their own business model as a team. For more information, contact Sadan Kulturel-Konak, professor of management information systems, at sadan@psu.edu.

Meetup on Global Entrepreneurship: Latin American Perspectives

6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12, Berks LaunchBox

This event is free and open to the public but attendees must register in advance by visiting meetup.com/launchbox by Nov. 11.

The Berks LaunchBox, located within the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading, will hold a Meetup that addresses the cultural and regulatory challenges of running cross-border companies. The Meetup will focus on three business types: a family restaurant, a high-tech digital design and manufacturing company, and an engineering services firm.

Fermin Diaz is vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professionals in Hazleton. He is a serial entrepreneur with businesses in construction, engineering, and the restaurant industry. Fermin also manages a business in his hometown in the Dominican Republic, and is working to strengthen economic ties between Pennsylvania and the Dominican Republic.

Henning Bergold, president of Groupo Abstract, based in Bogata, Colombia, will provide his perspective on successfully developing a company that offers automation services across Central and South America. Bergold holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela and a master’s degree from Universidad Simón Bolivár in Colombia.

For more information, contact Walt Fullam, director of continuing education and outreach, at WFF1@psu.edu.

Women Entrepreneurs of Berks County

12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, Room 121, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, Penn State Berks

This event is free and open to the public.

The Flemming CEED Center will host a panel discussion four female entrepreneurs who started business ventures in the city of Reading.

Dr. Natalie Parisi, owner and partner of ROG Orthodontics, was born and raised in Berks County. She is a graduate of Villanova University, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and Eastman School of Orthodontics–University of Rochester. Parisi has been a full-time orthodontist for 24 years and is an adjunct professor at Temple University's Kornberg School of Dentistry.

Lindsay Sokol Szejko earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice from York College. She joined SOLO Laboratories Inc., a manufacturer of custom orthotics, in 2005. From 2005 to 2016, she held various positions in the company, from customer service to sales and marketing. Szejko was named president in 2017 and CEO in 2018.

Alma Vasquez emigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2000. She worked in a restaurant and later became a manger. Then she moved to Pennsylvania in 2008 and continued to work at small local businesses while investing in real estate, which led her to establish YAVE Investments LLC. In 2019, she achieved her dream of opening her own restaurant, Pagoda Cafe and Catering Services.

Jaimyn Westenhoefer began her career as a licensed aesthetician, working at a few different salons and medical spas over the course of 12 years. In 2012, she joined SOLO Laboratories Inc. in the sales department. In 2018, she was named president of the company.

For more information, contact Sadan Kulturel-Konak, professor of management information systems, at sadan@psu.edu.

Workshop on Design Thinking 

5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, Room 248, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, Penn State Berks

This event is free and open to the public but attendees must register in advance.

The Flemming CEED Center will sponsor this workshop, presented by Sadan Kulturel-Konak, director of the Flemming CEED Center and professor of management information systems, and Abdullah Konak, professor of information sciences and technology. The workshop will introduce several techniques that can help attendees in finding facts, new ideas and creative solutions. Participants will learn how to lead their innovation teams through the product development process. Attendees must reserve their space in advance at https://forms.gle/8itCFVQuL7dv7XdK8 no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11. For more information, contact Abdullah Konak at 610-396-6310 or via email at konak@psu.edu.

The following are classroom presentations that are open to the public as space allows.

Modifying a Product Design for the EU Market (Presentation in Entrepreneurial Mindset course)

4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, Room 249, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, Penn State Berks

Randy Saylor, a partner with Teq Group, will provide students with blueprints for a product and explain how cost effective modifications allowed it to be sold in the European Union. Saylor has worked as a successful manufacturing executive for many years. He currently runs several small manufacturing and manufacturing services companies that operate in international markets.

Business Development for European Companies in the U.S. – Challenges and Opportunities (Presentation in Entrepreneurial Mindset course)

6 to 6:45 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, Room 245, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, Penn State Berks

Jochen Hager from Business Development Executives LLC in West Chester will provide students with insights on how he has helped German firms identify and successfully meet opportunities in the U.S. market. Hager is a German executive with many years of experience helping innovative German firms successfully enter the U.S. market.

How a Small Entrepreneurial Manufacturing Company Competes in the Global Market (Presentation in Entrepreneurial Mindset course)

6 to 6:45 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14, Room 121, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, Penn State Berks

Randy Saylor, a partner with Teq Group, will present strategies that small companies can employ to operate globally. Jochen Hager is a German executive with many years of experience helping innovative German firms successfully enter the U.S. market.

About the Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center

The Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development Center (CEED Center) was established in the fall of 2011 as part of the new Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. Its mission is to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking in the Penn State Berks community and to foster economic growth and development in the Greater Reading area.

About the Berks LaunchBox

The Penn State Berks LaunchBox is located within the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading. An incubation hub with the mission of supporting economic development and entrepreneurship, the Berks LaunchBox offers a makerspace with 3D printers for prototyping; entrepreneurship workshops; co-working space for startups; Meetups focused on topics related to business development and technology; and special youth programs. The Berks LaunchBox is supported by Invent Penn State — a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student success, launched by Penn State President Eric J. Barron in 2016. Today, there are 21 innovation hubs across the state.

Last Updated November 11, 2019