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Campus Office Celebrates Two Years Helping Businesses, Entrepreneurs

5/5/2011 —

DuBois – In these uncertain economic times, the Office of Technology Transfer at Penn State DuBois is finding new ways to propel small businesses forward.  The office has just celebrated the second anniversary of its establishment this spring.  In that time, the Office of Technology Transfer has engaged 60 companies, and 20 individual entrepreneurs, and has aided the founding of 10 new companies. 


"The real nice part of this job is at the end of the day you've helped some person, or some company move forward, and you just can't beat that," said Technology Transfer Coordinator Sally Moran.  As the chief representative for Technology Transfer, Moran connects businesses and people with the resources and industry contacts they need to succeed.  She explained that she provides the avenue entrepreneurs can take to access the resources available at Penn State.  


 "The real value in what I do is that I open the doors to Penn State," Moran said. "The companies trying to be innovative don't always have the real resources they need.  Most of the time, Penn State does." 


Moran helps entrepreneurs connect with people across the university who have the knowledge, skills, and contacts to help them start a business, or expand an existing business.  Inventors and business owners can get assistance establishing a business plan, and gain access to research and laboratory facilities where they can develop inventions or ideas.  They can even get guidance on how to market their product or service once it is ready to be released to the public.  What's more, is that all of these services are free.


In addition to the aforementioned statistics on the office's accomplishments, Moran has also helped to launch five all-new products, and helped five inventors receive patents for their ideas.  She said, "I can do the project management role, I can do the leg work for them.  It's almost like having another person on their staff." 


One local inventor who has received some assistance from Moran and the Technology Transfer Office is Nicole Kovalyak, a neonatal nurse who developed the Nurture Rest pillow, which simulates a mother's body, making babies as comfortable as possible.  She has marketed the products mostly to hospitals with neonatal intensive care units that care for premature babies that cannot have frequent contact with their mother. 


Moran secured grant funding for Kovalyak to help cover the costs of patents and for promotion of the products, and connected her with the people and companies she needed to help get the business off the ground.  Vision Creative Group was contracted to provide graphic design work for a website, promotional literature, and helped to develop the branding of her products and business. Moran also arranged for an honors level finance class at University Park to design Kovalyak's business plan as their class project for this current semester, free of charge.  


Another success story is that of George Angelo of St. Marys, and his invention of the Angel Wings bicycle seat. His seat provides more comfort for riders by utilizing pads that move with the rider's legs as they pedal. The Office of Technology Transfer helped Angelo gain exposure for his invention, and connected him with other people at Penn State who helped to test prototypes of the seat on exercise bikes in university fitness labs. 


"There are some really smart people and great companies in this area, and I have the good fortune to work with them," Moran said. 


Moran said the services provided through the Office of Technology Transfer are made possible by a partnership between her office and the Northwest Industrial Research Center, the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission, and the Clarion University Small Business Development Center. 


For more information on services offered by the Office of Technology Transfer at Penn State DuBois, call (814) 375-4803, or write to sum24@psu.edu

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