Building a sustainable future and creating more jobs in the region - that is the goal of business, government, and educational leaders.
Now, local universities are stepping forward with help for entrepreneurs.
Four Erie-area universities - Penn State Behrend, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University and Edinboro University are now working together.
The institutions announced Innovation Beehive Network Monday morning.
Penn State Behrend will focus on product prototyping.
Amy Bridger, from Behrend, said, "Our node is based on rapid prototyping. We have a staff of students here to field questions free of charge or projects from the community. They'll take an idea out of someone's head into a design and print out a prototype."
Gannon will assist with business development.
Steve Mauro, from Gannon, said, "Gannon being an urban university right where downtown commerce happens, our goal really is going to be to take small business, excelerate their advancement so they can get out there and generate jobs for Erie."
Mercyhurst contributing in intelligence solutions.
David Dausey, from Mercyhurst, said, "We're excited because our intelligence studies program has done this successfully before with our quickstarter campaign and has really helped to get more than 160 businesses off the ground. We think this is an extension of that activity."
Once the business or product is ready to be put on the market, that's where Edinboro can help.
Rosemari Graham, from Edinboro, said, "Marketing is a way to get the business out there. Once you get it developed, you need a way to get it to the public. So that's what our piece will be."
This $4 million dollar initiative made possible from funding from the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, Ignite Erie+University Business Acceleration Collaborative, the Appalachian Regional Commission and others.
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