Council hears Innoblue’s proposal

By Colleen Boyle

Daily Collegian, Penn State U. via UWIRE

Monday evening, student leaders from Innoblue, a program designed to assist entrepreneurs in State College, approached the State College Borough Council with one request: a workspace.

Penn State U. juniors Drew Mohoric and Jon Tornetta said with help from the council in the form of providing a work facility, their program could bring the same spirit of innovation found at schools like Standford University here to Happy Valley.

Innoblue is an educational program that the founders hope will provide a connection between available resources and those looking to launch an idea. Mohoric (junior-accounting) said he hopes the program will make up for what Penn State lacks in providing direction for students and community members looking to start their own company.

“Every student has an idea because every student has a need,” he said. “They don’t realize that they can actually do something about it.”

Innoblue already has connections with companies such as Tomorrow Innovations, which Tornetta (junior- science business) said are fundamental. All they need, he said, is a space to work.

Borough Council members said they were concerned about some key aspects the plan, including why they should take a role.

“Who pays for this and why isn’t the university doing it,” council member Ronald Filippelli asked the presenters. “I think it’s a great idea, but I’m puzzled by the taxpayer role.”

Tornetta and Mohoric said by separating from the university, they could avoid certain restrictions and also provide their resources to State College residents. Council member Silvi Lawrence said the students were asking a lot of the council considering its already limited budget.

“We have a very different budget,” she said. “What does Penn State have, billions?”

Despite their concerns, members of the board said they were intrigued by the idea of such a program.

“There’s no real location where people can bring new ideas and really find support,” said Mayor Elizabeth Goreham. “It’s something that’s missing in our town.”

Innoblue “starts and supports student ventures and ideas from a civic perspective and a business perspective,” said Tornetta, who works closely with founder David Adewumi (senior-Spanish).

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