Penn State Startup week

Banners hang in the Westgate Building for Penn State's Startup week on Friday, March 25, 2018.

For its second year as a university-wide event, Startup Week will bring the Penn State community together with opportunities to get engaged in the world of entrepreneurship.

Penn State alumni, as well as many other successful entrepreneurs, will share their knowledge and advice as part of a series of programming from Monday, March 26 through Friday, March 30.

Jordan Ford, the director of marketing and communications in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, said he wants students to use this week as an opportunity to try something new and to become aware of the resources present at Penn State.

“Some students don’t think that this should be on their radar at all,” Ford said. “They might think that they have a very defined career path, but a lot of these principles and the thought processes and the ideas apply regardless of your career, regardless of your goals.”

There are 41 events scheduled, which are outlined on the Startup Week website. Ongoing events each day will include a series of keynote panels, individual speakers presenting in classes, resource fairs and student challenges.

Students are welcome and encouraged to attend events throughout Startup Week, Ford said, regardless of whether they want to start their own business.

The keynote panels each feature guests with different levels of experience with entrepreneurship. The first panel, “Someday is Today: Getting Started in Entrepreneurship,” will feature young entrepreneurs who are working on their own startups. It will be moderated by Sascha Meinrath, the Palmer chair in Telecommunications, at 6 p.m. on Monday in 110 Business Building.

“My hope, my expectation is that Startup Week becomes a catalyzing event to drive additional interest [and] additional resources into the space,” Meinrath said. “It’s such a vibrant area for expansion.”

Penn State Startup week

Banners hang in the Westgate Building for Penn State's Startup week on Friday, March 25, 2018.

Ford said the theme for Startup Week is “Be Greater” — with posters on campus sharing messages of “Be greater than doubt,” “Be greater than yesterday” and “Be greater than limitations.”

“Take one tiny infinitesimal step that shows you what the process could be like,” he said.

David Lenze, a member of the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Smeal College of Business, recommends students participate in the 3-Day IDEA Challenges. There are four categories of challenges, including data design and engineering, freelance communications, health and quality of life and an open pitch, Lenze said.

College of Science, said the purpose of these challenges is to “bring any idea and see what you can make of it in three days.” Students can register with a group ahead of time or be paired up during the challenge, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the MBA Commons Lobby of the Business Building

Olivia Richards will participate in Startup Week as a finalist in the entrepreneurship-based IdeaMakers Challenge from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday in W201 Westgate Building.

Students from various colleges have been a part of this separate competition since January, working with mentors to improve product ideas and pitches.

“The Penn State experience is not completely a hundred percent if you don’t participate in engaging activities like this,” Richards (junior- mathematics) said. “You have to put your education to work, and it doesn’t always have to be for a payment.”

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