E&I's objectives match those of the Invent Penn State initiative

The college has taken a leadership role in the Invent Penn State initiative.

"Our objectives align well with the University's," says Azzara, "and include new business and job creation, industry partnerships and student career success."

To fund its full, long-term vision, the E&I leadership team is hoping to grow its Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program Endowment from $3 million to $10 million by 2022. Azzara, Donley and several other advisory board members have made initial donations.

New funding and investment would allow more students to participate in start-up competitions, both at Penn State and around the country.

"We want more of our students to experience the actual entrepreneurial process from concept to launch," says Gagnon.

E&I would also boost the entrepreneur-in-residence to a full-time position, and encourage more faculty-generated licenses and start-ups, says Azzara.

Additional investments would also make RAIN and industry research partnerships sustainable for many years. "We are taking steps to expand and enhance the E&I program, and to provide a solid financial foundation for its long-term success," says Azzara.

Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. It blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization and university-community collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind.