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Penn State Berks celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Penn State Berks will hold a variety of events from Nov. 12–16.

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Penn State Berks will hold a variety of events from Nov. 12–16. The college has several lectures planned for aspiring student entrepreneurs and two events are open to the public. The campus events are sponsored in part by the Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development (CEED) Center and one event is sponsored by the Langan LaunchBox.

Creativity and Entrepreneurship Workshop

10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 12, room 145, Thun Library.
This event is for Reading School District PEPP students only.

The Flemming CEED Center will hold a workshop for Reading School District middle school students enrolled in the Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP). Participants will focus on creativity and 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, they will learn about themselves, their passions, networking and generating new ideas. Students will work as a team on a series of creative problem-solving activities and find innovative solutions for issues in their communities. Finally, they will learn the basics of a business model and practice developing their own business model as a team. Dr. Sadan Kulturel-Konak, professor of management information systems and director of the Flemming CEED Center, and Dr. Abdullah Konak, professor of information sciences and technology, are the faculty advisers and workshop co-coordinators.

Customer-Focused Opportunity Identification

(Presentation in Entrepreneurial Mindset course)
1:35–2:50 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, room 245, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building.
This event is for Penn State Berks students only.

Brian Polizzi, co-founder and chief wafflatier at Waffatopia, will visit the campus to discuss opportunity identification. Brian and Andrea Polizzi met while studying science and business at Penn State Berks. After graduation, they began to climb the corporate ladder, advancing through various management and leadership positions at major life science and financial organizations. But something was missing: The highlight of their days was the time we spent with families and friends and the signature foods that made the experiences all the more memorable. After a visit to Brussels, Belgium, the Polizzis started Waffatopia, a bakery dedicated to Belgian Liège waffle, located in Conshohocken.

Startup Opportunities in the City of Reading

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14, room 121, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building.
This event is free and open to the public.

During this presentation, attendees will hear from four entrepreneur speakers about opportunities to start business ventures in the City of Reading.

Johanny Cepeda-Freyitz, owner of Mi Casa, Su Casa Café in Reading

Cepeda-Freyitz earned a B.A. in French from the State University of New York at New Paltz College and a master’s degree in education from Long Island University. She held various positions in school-based counseling before moving from New York to Reading in 2007 to pursue a business opportunity. Cepeda-Freyitz relocated her family to open Mi Casa, Su Casa Café. In January 2011, she was awarded Business Person of the Year by the Latino Chamber of Commerce. In March, 2017 she was the recipient of the Take the Lead 2017 Award by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.

Aaron Gantz, executive director of Downtown Revitalization at the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

Gantz, a native of Reading, earned both her B.A. in political science and a master of public administration from West Virginia University. In her position, she works with both the public and private sector to enhance economic development opportunities in downtown Reading. She is the immediate past chair of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association’s communication and membership committee; vice chair of the Smart Growth Alliance of Berks County; a United Way of Berks County Focus Area Panel member; and a member of the West Reading Economic Development Committee. She is also a recipient of the 2011 Rising Star Award from the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Alan Shuman, president of Shuman Development Group

Shuman grew up on a family farm in Selinsgrove, PA. He began his first enterprise when he was eight-years-old, selling roasted walnuts from the farm by the roadside. He made his first real estate investment was as a sophomore at Penn State University, where he earned a B.A. in History. After serving in the military, Shuman worked in computer sales, but he had always had a dream of owning his own business. In 1994, he and his wife, Marina, founded Shuman Development Group (SDG), which focuses on rehabilitating large-scale urban structures, many of historical significance. SDG’s goal is to revitalize entire neighborhoods and create jobs. The company has spearheaded numerous high profile projects such as the redevelopment of the Reading Outlet Center and the restoration of the Abraham Lincoln Hotel.

Elliott Weinstein, of Weinstein Realty Consultants

Weinstein earned his B.S. in Marketing and M.S. in Accounting from Penn State in 1973 and 1974, respectively. President of Weinstein Realty Consultants, located in York, he was appointed to the Penn State University Board of Trustees by Governor Tom Wolf effective September 2015. He also has served on the board of Penn State Hillel since 2003, and as its chair since 2013.

Meetup-VR, AR and Gaming–Creating a Business

6:30–8:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 14, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
This event is free and open to the public.

The Langan LaunchBox will host a panel discussion with entrepreneurs working with virtual reality, augmented reality, and gaming in the entertainment, instructional training, and esports industries. For additional information, contact Solange Israel-Mintz, Project Manager, Entrepreneurial and Business Initiatives, Langan LaunchBox at 610-396-6222 or via email at [email protected].

The Pros and Cons of Franchising (Contemporary Skills for Business Professionals and in Entrepreneurial Leadership Courses)

1:35 p.m. (room 249) and 3:05 p.m. (room 245), Thursday, Nov. 15, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building.
This event is for Penn State Berks students only.

Taylor Green, co-owner and principal of Kona Ice King of Prussia, is an alumnus of Penn State Berks who earned a B.S. in Finance. He will give a presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of owning a franchise.

3D Printing Workshop

12:15–1:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, room 111, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building.
This workshop is free and open to the public.

Penn State Berks students Carter Scherer, a first-year engineering major, and junior Nathaniel Leighton will host a 3D printing workshop.


For more information on Global Entrepreneurship Week events or the Flemming CEED Center, contact Kulturel-Konak at 610-396-6137 or via email at [email protected].


About the Langan LaunchBox

Invent Penn State is a $30 million Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student success launched in 2015 by Penn State University President Eric J. Barron. The initiative has provided seed grant funding for the development of innovation hubs at Penn State campuses. Penn State Berks, in partnership with Penn State Health St. Joseph, received two Invent Penn State grants, leading to the creation of the Langan LaunchBox. Its goals include enhancing community and industry relationships, promoting entrepreneurship among Penn State Berks students, and providing resources that encourage entrepreneurship across diverse populations in the City of Reading.