Industry News

Penn State Helps Launch Ed Tech Business Accelerator

Pennsylvania State University is partnering with a company to create a business "accelerator" focused entirely on educational technology. Those companies accepted into the program being managed by Dreamit — both start-ups and more seasoned firms that want to scale — participate in classroom training, networking events, customer access and advisory board guidance. Investment is also possible.

Dreamit is taking applications now for a program that will begin in March 2016. Participants may be working on products intended for college use or some other segment of learning — adult skills acquisition or primary or secondary education. Entrepreneurs will be selected based on an application process. Those accepted will spend four months working through their plans using Dreamit's curriculum and access to its global network.

Companies won't have to relocate their businesses to Philadelphia; however, they'll spend one week at the institution's University Park campus and up to a week each month at one of Dreamit's hubs in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City or Houston.

For its part, the university will hold seats on the Dreamit ed tech advisory board, and Penn State students will be recruited for internship opportunities with Dreamit and the startup companies it works with.

The roster of executives also serving as advisors includes Steven Hodas with Innovate NYC Schools, Laura Malcolm with Civitas Learning, Katie Blot with Blackboard, Sharon van Wyk with the Princeton Review and Tutor.com and Maia Sharpley with Kaplan.

"This partnership will advance the entrepreneurial and economic development strategies of Invent Penn State and the EdTech Network while helping to ensure Penn State maintains leadership in online learning," said Craig Weidemann, the school's vice president for outreach and vice provost for online education. "More importantly, the Dreamit collaboration will provide a platform for Penn State leaders, faculty, staff and students to gain a firsthand experience in learning about the entrepreneurial process."

More information about the application process is available on the Dreamit Web site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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