Entrepreneur Panel at Penn State DuBois Discusses Small Business Startups

Penn State DuBois celebrated small business owners as well as aspiring entrepreneurs on Wednesday in celebration of Startup Week, April 1-5.
Image: Jessica Mondi

DUBOIS, Pa. – Penn State DuBois celebrated small business owners as well as aspiring entrepreneurs on Wednesday in celebration of Startup Week, April 1-5. The program “So, You Want to Start a Business” held in the student union featured a panel of small business experts from around the region.

Brad Lashinsky, director of the North Central PA Launchbox at Penn State DuBois, offered an overview of the new Launchbox initiative to a packed room. He explained that as part of the Invent Penn State initiative, the program aims to help local companies innovate new technologies and processes, expand their business opportunities, and create growth and increased job opportunities in the area workforce. The initiative is also intended to assist entrepreneurs who want to start a new small business of their own by helping to find resources to get started and to begin growth.

An open discussion with a panel of area business leaders was then held, allowing guests to ask questions and learn more about how these successful entrepreneurs have launched or maintained their ventures. The panel included Ree Mitra, co-owner, Aegis Coffee Roasters, DuBois; Ed Tate, owner, Luigi’s Ristorante, DuBois; Herb Bullers Jr., Jefferson County Commissioner, and owner of Servpro, Brookville Lumber, and Pinecraft Homes; Lindsay Fairman, technical leader and investor, Align Advisors LLC; Jim Chorney, director of the North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission; Aleshia Marshall, business consultant, Clarion Small Business Development Center; and John Siggins, business consultant, Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

The panel was asked what the one thing they wish they’d known prior to starting a business.

Fairman responded “How much I didn’t know. There’s a reason you’re driven to do what you want to do, but there’s so much around it that you’re either not aware you need to know, don’t know how to do it. And so that’s where I learned the value in building a team around you that consists of people that don’t look and think like you but have these diverse thoughts.” The full panel discussion can be viewed at

Penn State Startup Week brings some of the leading minds in entrepreneurship and innovation to Penn State campuses across the commonwealth. It was founded in 2012 by the College of Information Sciences and Technology as “IST Startup Week.” The event was created to celebrate a $400,000 gift from David Rusenko (Penn State IST class of 2007) that advanced IST’s commitment to supporting student entrepreneurs. The growth of the event to Penn State Startup Week in 2017 built on this effort to engage nearly every corner of the University.

Categories: Business, Education

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