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Gauging the Growth Sectors: Entrepreneurship Enters New Era


Across the state, as displaced workers from large, tried and true corporations looked to re-define their careers in the last year, many Pennsylvanians opted to take daring leaps and strike out on their own, even as the economy continued to struggle.  Meanwhile, emerging sectors like sustainability and life sciences provided ample opportunity for them to explore their entrepreneurial side.

Throw in organizations like Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Philly Start-Up Leaders, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, DreamIt Ventures, the NEPA Venture Partnership and the Murata Business Center, and there is no shortage of assistance. The key moving forward, most everyone has said, is letting people know they’re there and how they can help.

Not surprisingly, young people are dominating the landscape, like 23 year-old Sara Lanphier’s Nuts About Granola, the York outfit that was featured on the Rachel Ray TV show; 25 year-old Scranton real estate king Tim O’Brien; and the twenty-something trio that is driving the success of the online motorcycle marketplace known as RevZilla.

The old dogs can still bite, though, like serial entrepreneurs Jake St. Pierre of Hazleton CanBE, Michael Sanchez of the Main Line’s Savana Partners and Steven Nichtberger of Norristown’s Tengion.

In Philadelphia, Jose Garces led a pack of super chefs that are paving the way for entrepreneurs to take their shot in the city’s growing food service business. The growth of the arts is fueling opportunities in Harrisburg’s Midtown district, where coffee shops, galleries and boutiques are thriving in a previously residential area. For the thirsty, Ron Kamionka continued his stretch of opening successful nightclubs and watering holes throughout the state and a pair of distilleries and microbreweries from Valley Forge to Williamsport are also quenching that thirst.

In the next year, expect entrepreneurship in PA to continue trending upward as the Obama administration shifts its focus from Wall Street to Main Street. In a state known for its Main Street feel, that’s good news for risk-takers with good ideas.

Source: Keystone Edge
Writer: Joe Petrucci

Entrepreneurship, Higher Ed, Life Sciences, News, Venture Capital