Global Entrepreneurship Week logo
Image: Penn State

Berks celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

READING, Pa. — As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Penn State Berks will hold a variety of events during the week of Nov. 13–19. The college has several lectures planned for aspiring student entrepreneurs and one event is open to the public. The events are sponsored in part by the Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development (CEED) Center.

Entrepreneurship Speaker Series — “Intrapreneurship” Presentation

12:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, room 121, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. This event is free and open to the public.


Heather Chandler, president of Sealstrip Corporation, and Travis Getz, vice president of Operations at Reading Bakery Systems, will discuss “intrapreneurship.” Chandler holds an MBA from Penn State, and a law degree from Temple University. She serves on the board of TeamPA Foundation and the advisory councils of both Ben Franklin Technology Partners and The Delaware Family Business Center. She speaks and writes on a variety of subjects including leadership. Getz is a U.S. Navy veteran and a Penn State alumnus with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He joined Reading Bakery Systems in 2001 and has moved up the ranks to vice president of operations. He is responsible for overseeing engineering, manufacturing, procurement, technical services, and the Science & Innovation Center.

Creativity and Entrepreneurship Workshop

10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, room 111, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building

The Flemming CEED Center will hold a workshop for Reading School District middle school students enrolled in the Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP). The students will learn about entrepreneurship, self-assessment, and writing a business plan. They will learn how to become innovative thinkers, and through the self-assessment portion of the workshop, the students will learn about themselves, their passions, networking and generating new ideas. They will work as a team on a series of creative problem-solving activities and work to find innovative solutions for the problems in their communities. Finally, students will learn the basics of a business model and practice developing their own business model as a team. Sadan Kulturel-Konak, professor of management information systems and director of the Flemming CEED Center, and Abdullah Konak, professor of information sciences and technology, are the faculty advisers and workshop co-coordinators.

PEPP is an early-intervention collaboration between Penn State Berks and the Reading School District. The mission of the program is to enhance academic preparedness and motivation levels in its Reading School District participants to pursue higher education. PEPP also recruits and trains students from Penn State Berks, most of whom are elementary and early childhood education majors, to act as PEPP learning assistants.

Presentation in Entrepreneurial Mindset class

12:05 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, room 247, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building

Tim Hillert, CEO and Founder of BenXChange, will give a presentation on how to secure financing for a start-up business and various resources to raise funding. He will discuss the struggles that new businesses face with Penn State Berks students enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Mindset course. Hillert founded BeneXchange in 2013. The software company provides a user-friendly, fully automated interface that allows its subscribers to search for a variety of insurance options, 401k and other retirement plans, and various other human resource products and services. Hillert earned a bachelor's degree in business from Penn State Berks and an MBA from the Penn State Smeal College of Business.

Presentation in International Management class

6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, room 245, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building

Gregg Shemanski, president and CEO of Custom Processing, will give a presentation on opportunities in international markets for small- to medium-sized manufacturing firms. He will discuss this topic with Penn State Berks students enrolled in the International Management course. Shemanski’s diverse industry experience extends to design, management, sales and administration. He earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Lehigh University.

Presentation in International Management class

6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, room 121, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building

Two executives from Unique Pretzels — Justin Spannuth, vice president and COO, and Rob Rhoads, brand sales manager — will give a presentation to Penn State Berks students enrolled in the International Management course on how a small innovative snack food company thrives in the new food retailing environment.

Penn State Berks is committed to entrepreneurship and economic development. The Flemming CEED Center was established in the fall of 2011 as part of the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. The Flemming CEED Center is an extension of the college’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor. This interdisciplinary 18-credit minor is designed to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and leadership in students.

For more information on these projects or the Flemming CEED Center, contact Sadan Kulturel-Konak at 610-396-6137 or via email at sadan@psu.edu.