NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — How do you take an idea and make it a reality? That’s just one question that will be answered through a free, four-session workshop planned at Penn State New Kensington’s innovation hub, The Corner, throughout October.
"The Idea TestLab is for people who have an idea, either for their business or for potentially starting a new business, to take the important first step in understanding whether or not there is a market for the problem they are trying to solve," says Rhonda Schuldt, innovation coordinator with Penn State New Kensington and The Corner.
Schuldt, who will be leading the series, stresses that anyone can attend Idea TestLab, especially students or individuals who may not even have a goal of being in business.
"Whether they are a business person, resident, student or faculty member with a big idea, the Idea TestLab is a great place to start exploring possibilities," said Schuldt.
Individuals or teams can participate in the series, and if someone is interested in attending, but doesn't have an idea, they can join another team or work on an idea that comes from the community.
Schuldt also points out that entrepreneurship isn't just about starting a business. The concept goes far beyond that.
"Entrepreneurship is also a mindset — one of innovation, creativity, learning, testing and adapting to improve not just a product or service, but also an experience or situation," said Schuldt. "One can be entrepreneurial by starting a business, but there is opportunity to be entrepreneurial in a large company, government, the nonprofit sector and even in education. It's having the mindset of looking at whose lives we are trying to improve and how we can do that better than anyone else and doing so by really understanding our 'customers' first."
Each week, attendees of Idea TestLab will explore their ideas by learning how to identify and discover potential customers; figuring out how to articulate the customers’ problems and needs; and creating a value proposition to show how their idea can provide a benefit not currently given.
The program will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9, 16, 23 and 30 at The Corner, located at 701 Fifth Ave. in downtown New Kensington. Idea TestLab is free to attend, however, reservations are required. To register, visit https://octideatestlab.eventbrite.com or call 724-400-4777.
A full listing of upcoming events at The Corner can be found at www.newkensington.psu.edu/corner-launchbox-events.
The Corner melds innovation, co-working space and community-driven economic development to revitalize New Kensington and is one of 21 Invent Penn State innovation hubs across Pennsylvania. Invent Penn State is a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success.