Universities showcase Innovation Beehive projects

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The work of Erie County’s four universities,The Hive under the auspices of the Northwest Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network, will be on display tonight when the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership welcomes upward of 300 guests to its December After-Hours event.

Mercyhurst, Edinboro and Penn State Behrend will each feature their Beehive accomplishments of the past year, along with Gannon, which is hosting the event at its Business Ingenuity Center, 900 State, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Besides the opportunity to review Beehive projects and socialize, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority is expected to make an announcement about grants to the Beehives totaling $1 million. Mercyhurst is earmarked to receive an estimated $200,000 to create a designated Beehive site on campus, which will be called the Mercyhurst University Innovation Ententes Laboratory.

The NWPA Beehive concept seeks to leverage the strengths of all four universities to spark innovation and support entrepreneurship in the Erie region. The program harnesses the talents of students, offering valuable hands-on experience, while providing assistance to growing businesses.

Meanwhile, Mercyhurst’s Beehive will highlight some successful Quickstarter projects of the past year, prior to its sale to The Erie Management Group, which since summer has been operating the program under Idea Fund Erie. Founded in 2014 by Mercyhurst intelligence studies associate professor Kristan Wheaton, Quickstarter is a proven initiative that pairs Erie County university students with local entrepreneurs to provide targeted assistance on their crowdfunding projects.

Mercyhurst will also showcase the newest focus of its Beehive: the creation of intelligence market studies to identify actionable business insights for a range of industries, including those focused on cyber, manufacturing and specialty foods. The Beehive engages students from all four universities to work together on high-quality intelligence analysis projects.

Simply said, Edinboro’s Beehive focuses on branding and communication, Gannon’s on business development and Behrend’s on prototyping and product development.

Mercyhurst President Michael Victor, in commending the collaborative approach of the Beehive, says, “Here we are: Edinboro, Gannon, Penn State Behrend and Mercyhurst. Four competitors in one of the toughest industries in the county today: higher education! And yet, here we stand together, in mutual accord, leveraging our respective strengths to create one potent force. That force is designed to spark innovation and support entrepreneurship in our region, and that is good for all of us.”