Edinboro collaborates with colleges for Innovation Beehive

Category:  News
Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 at 5:29 PM
Edinboro collaborates with colleges for Innovation Beehive by Dakota Palmer
Photo: Dakota Palmer

Four local universities are collaborating to establish a network to assist business start-ups and entrepreneurs. 

The Northwest Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network will include Edinboro University, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University and Penn State Behrend. 

Rosmari Graham, director of grants and sponsored programs for Edinboro, said the four universities came together about a year ago to discuss ways to work together and “increase the vibrancy of our region.” 

“I think this has great potential to benefit the region by increasing the available resources for expanding and new companies,” she said. “In addition, it provides a first step in hopefully a long-term collaboration of the universities in the region as we work together to increase the vibrancy of our surrounding communities, as well as enrich the lives of our students.”

Graham asked Dr. Tony Peyronel, interim chairperson of the Music and Theatre Department and professor in the Communication, Journalism and Media Department, to assist with the project. Peyronel said he has been working with the communication, journalism and media; computer science; and arts departments to find high-achieving students to involve in the project.

The project has received $400,000 in grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Ignite Erie Industry and University Business Acceleration Collaborative organizations.

Additionally, on Oct. 17, Gannon University received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

Each of the universities will be home to a “beehive,” which will concentrate on a different aspect of business development. Behrend, which is spearheading the project, began its beehive in 2016, concentrating on engineering, 3D printing and product design. 

“It’s (the network) primarily designed to benefit the community and small businesses, [and to help] start-up businesses and even some non-profit organizations get the ball rolling and prove themselves,” Peyronel said. “It’s also going to provide great opportunity for the students because students are going to be doing a lot of that work. It’s going to be a way to make contacts, a way to meet people in the field; it’s going to lead to internships, and we hopefully think it’s going to lead to jobs for our students too.”

Edinboro’s lab, which will be housed in the Baron-Forness Library, will focus on marketing, advertising and public relations. Gannon will focus on business development and analysis, while Mercyhurst will focus on business intelligence services.

Graham said: “Here at EU, this will also provide valuable experiences for our students, including [on-campus] employment, graduate assistantships and opportunities for working interdepartmentally to create marketing materials [and more] for companies. It also provides students exposure to companies who may be interested in employing them in the future.”

Peryonel said he and Graham hope to have the Edinboro lab up and running by January. 

“All the universities involved in this project are excited to continue our efforts at collaboration and value the opinions of our students and faculty,” Graham said. 

If you have an idea about any collaborations, please contact Graham at rgraham@edinboro.edu.

Dakota Palmer can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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