Happy Valley LaunchBox Gift Announcement

Happy Valley LaunchBox
January 22, 2018, 4:00 PM
-Remarks as prepared for delivery-

Thank you. This is a special day. When we dedicated this a short 20 months ago, the hard working steering committee was sitting on rusty metal folding chairs without much heat, and drinking cheap coffee. And the first cohort of aspiring entrepreneurs were living on Ramen noodles. The operation was being run on a shoestring, but the ambition was impossible to contain.

Now Sheetz provides us fresh roasted coffee, we have cushy bean bag chairs and our entrepreneurs are enjoying tasty hors d’oeuvres at events.

And here we are…ready to take Happy Valley LaunchBox to the next level with the support of colleagues, partners and friends...including several members of the Penn State Board of Trustees. Would all of you stand or wave please? Our trustees have embraced Invent Penn State from its inception, and they have been powerful advocates for this effort across the Commonwealth. Please join me in thanking them.

Thank you.

Happy Valley LaunchBox is one of 17 Penn State-affiliated entrepreneurial spaces located across the Commonwealth.

In two and a half short years, the university has provided seed grant funding, in stages, for the development of 21 unique innovation hubs. Each reflects the unique character of the campus and surrounding community; but all share a common mission: to inspire and advance innovation and entrepreneurship, and to help transform great ideas into viable products and business opportunities.

Our first reporting year (2016-17) of activity---with only 5 of the innovation hubs open for the full year--- already showed considerable impact. Consider:

Now, let’s look at Happy Valley LaunchBox. In addition to the free legal and IP advice from Penn State Law and business consulting services from SBDC for startup entrepreneurs, it offers three programs designed to help early stage entrepreneurs de-risk their businesses and accelerate their entry to market.

Every day in this facility, between 5 to 15 individuals are collaborating, 75 students are attending the two entrepreneurship classes hosted here, and 5-10 startup teams are working. This was also a site for Global Entrepreneurship Week events with over 700 individuals attending.

Since the Happy Valley LaunchBox opened:


You will hear about one of those startup stories in more detail later in the program.

But first, I have the privilege of sharing the reason we’re all here today.

I’m very pleased to announce that a special collaboration with PNC Bank will take the Happy Valley LaunchBox to the next level. PNC has generously provided a $1.0 million grant in support of this initiative, which Penn State will match.

In recognition of PNC’s extraordinary commitment and vision, we have renamed the center.

I’d like to ask PNC Bank Central Region President Jim Hoehn to join me to reveal the new name.

Happy Valley LaunchBox, Powered by PNC Bank.

I’m thrilled that PNC is the first corporation to make this type of commitment in support of Invent Penn State.

Special thanks go to all of the PNC leaders and staff members, especially Jim Hoehn, Enrico Della Corna, executive vice president and Southeast Regional Executive, and Charlotte McLaughlin, president and CEO of PNC Capital Markets. We’re very grateful for your belief in the ingenious power of partnership. We look forward to a close relationship that enables PNC executives to participate in entrepreneurial programming such as the hub’s speaker series, mentorship program and more.

PNC’s relationship with Penn State –both business and philanthropic—has spanned decades. There are nearly 600 Penn State alumni who work at PNC Financial Services. In addition, PNC’s philanthropy has been a part of some of the most important initiatives in Penn State’s history, supporting the Penn State Children’s Hospital, Schreyer Honors College, the Colleges of Business and Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Behrend, the Hershey Medical Center, Intercollegiate Athletics, and a multitude of other areas.

What’s more, PNC has often stepped forward in the early stages of a project—when Penn State most needed a partner with the vision to support new ventures, a friend who believed in the future. In recognition of PNC’s generosity, the company was named our 2007 Corporate Partner of the Year. Our relationship has grown even stronger since then.

To make a collaboration like this happen, it takes a friend at the very top, and Jim Hoehn has been a great friend to Penn State. Jim is the regional president of the Central Pennsylvania Region for PNC Bank. He is responsible for overseeing all business and management with an emphasis on the wealth management and corporate banking businesses. Jim, we are grateful for your personal commitment to creating a stronger relationship between PNC and Penn State, and we are honored to have you here today. Would you care to say a few words?