Social Entrepreneurship into scalable and impactful business ventures

The Innovation Cafe celebrated Tax Day with an engaging and enlightening presentation from Khanjan Mehta, founding director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program at Penn State University. Khanjan shared his insights on social entrepreneurship, innovation and how to create scaleable business ventures while positively impacting society.

Missed the Khanjan’s discussion or want to see it again? We have you covered – presentation can be found here.

Hope you can join us on June 25 for our summer kick-off networking event. Info and registration is available at

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Intrapreneurship – Redefining business as usual

On March 26, the Innovation Cafe welcomed Marion Chamberlain, nationally recognized speaker, business strategist and corporate trainer. Marion shared with the Innovation Cafe the value of intrapreneurship, tips on how to serve as an organizational innovation leader and impact growth by becoming an entrepreneur on the job. Intrapreneurship also serves as a launch pad to become a full-blown entrepreneur.

Marion’s presentation can be found here.  Looking for additional inspiration? Follow Marion on twitter @marionchamberla.

What will you do today to become more intrapreneurial?

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Social Entrepreneurship + Innovation

Join us at the next Innovation Café on Wednesday, April 15 at 8:00 a.m. at the Penn State Hershey University Conference Center as we discuss social entrepreneurship and innovation.

Social entrepreneurship is a powerful movement in business. It is a method to develop innovative solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues. Social entrepreneurs are driving innovation, enterprise and the well being of individuals around the globe.

Director of Penn State University’s Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program, Khanjan Mehta, joins the Innovation Café to discuss the development of transformative social innovations and business models that convert technology solutions into sustainable and scalable ventures, enabling and accelerating positive social change.

Networking and breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m. followed by the formal program at 8:30 a.m. Space is limited. Register at:



Innovation and influence as an intrapreneur on 3/26

Join us at the next Innovation Café on Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 a.m. in the Hershey Center for Applied Research as we discuss how to innovate and influence as an intrapreneur.

A growing business trend, an intrapreneur describes an individual within a larger established organization who is directly responsible for turning an idea into a profitable products or service through innovation and risk-taking behaviors displayed in an entrepreneur. Nationally recognized speaker, business strategist and corporate trainer Marion Chamberlain will share tips on how to serve as an organizational innovation leader and impact growth by becoming an entrepreneur on the job.

Marion brings more than 15 years experience working with entrepreneurs, start-up companies and executive leaders at a variety of leading organizations and academic institutions helping to create leaders who inspire change and spark innovation.

A light breakfast and networking begins at 8:00 a.m. followed by the formal program at 8:30 a.m.

Space is limited. Register at:

Perfecting the Investor Pitch at March Innovation Cafe

If you are conducting breakthrough research that could make a significant impact on society if available outside an academic setting, this Innovation Cafe is for you!

Join us for the March 26 Innovation Cafe as nationally recognized innovation and entrepreneurial mentors Merom Klein, Ph.D. and Louise Yochee Klein, Psy.D., of Courage Institute International, share key techniques to capture the imagination of investors. Merom and Louise advise entrepreneurial leaders in corporate, academic and incubator settings throughout the United States, Israel, Canada, Scotland, Singapore and Kenya. The team also serve as mentors and entrepreneur coaches for Keiretsu Forum Mid-
Atlantic, as well as, adjunct professors in business communication at Temple University.

The Courage Institute International provides expertise in generative thinking and innovation leadership, using data driven “voice-of-the-customer” inquiry, diverse cross-functional perspectives and creative breakthrough thinking techniques to accelerator the innovation process.

The Innovation Cafe will cover:

  • How to “pitch” a technology to investors and provide valuable feedback on how your pitch may be received
  • What do to if an investor wants to fund the technology
  • How to capture the imagination of investors, who march to a different rhythm from your academic colleagues
  • How to access the commercial potential of an academic discovery as an entrepreneurial venture or as an innovation that could be licensed to a company
  • What is required to be the CEO, COO, CTO or CBO of a company

Following the half-day workshop, Merom and Louise will be available for individual sessions with investigators who want to discuss specific technologies and how to effectively communicate the research to potential investors.

Please contact the Office of Technology Development directly if you would like to schedule an individual session 717.531.8496 or Space is limited. REGISTER TODAY!

Innovation Cafe takes over The Hershey Story

On December 5, members of the Penn State Hershey community, entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners and economic development agencies from Central Pennsylvania and beyond took over The Hershey Story. A venue dedicated to the life and legacy of successful entrepreneur, Milton S. Hershey. Guests enjoyed great food & drink while touring the museum and sharing what they are doing to foster innovation and economic development in Central Pennsylvania.

We are going big in 2014! Don’t miss the next Innovation Cafe on February 12. We are bringing together a panel of local experts to discuss funding opportunities. Show us the money! Registration is now open.

Want to know more about the Innovation Cafe – contact us at Share your thoughts bout the entrepreneurial ecosystem  @innovcafe #innovationcentralpa

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TechCelerator@Hershey announces Start-up Boot Camp Winners

Techcelerator 8 Week Boot Camp - Final Night 5-15-13The TechCelerator@Hershey concluded its first Start-up Boot Camp in late May.

Promising entrepreneur, Dr. Joseph Sassani, opthalmologist at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and professor of opthalmology and pathology at Penn State College of Medicine came out as the winner. Dr. Sassani was awarded the $6,000 grand prize to support the formation of Microsurgery Simulation Software, LLC.

Sassani and his team are developing the company out of Penn State, to build a simulation system to teach, test and certify medical residents and experienced surgons in microsurgery. The simulator offers a more realistic surgical experience than current simulators providing enhanced training for micro surgeons.

“The program was both fun and highly informative. It provides the business background necessary to facilitate moving new ideas from the bench to the bediste. Learning from people that have been successful in this arena makes all the difference.” – Dr. Sassani 

The TechCelerator@Hershey is a program of Ben Franklin Technology Partners and is support by Penn State College of Medicine, The Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC, The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Venture Investment Forum and the Hershey Center for Applied Research, which offers entrepreneurial training, business support and mentoring services for entrepreneurs in the life science community.

Receiving an award of $4,000 was another Penn State College of Medicine technology developed by John Wawrzyniak, a physical therapist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in collaboration with three Medical Center physicians to develop  a mobile app to assist patients in shortening the rehabilitation process.

Five other developing companies successfully participated in the eight-week program and made final presentations to a panel of judges from the regional investment community.

“We were pleased to expand the TechCelerator program to Hershey and incorporate the life sciences community. In my opinion, each participant came out of the program as a winner. The companies discussed their technology with a network of experts in order to refine their business plans and learn the skills required to pursue a start-up company” – Dick Heddleson, director of the TechCelerator@Hershey 

The TechCelerator@Hershey targets Penn State researchers with the desire to commercialize intellectual property related to health and medicine. The next 8 Week Boot Camp begins on September 25th. Want to find out if the TechCelerator@Hershey is right for you? Join us on Tuesday, July 16th or Monday, August 19th for information sessions.