Bringing Entrepreneurs and Innovators to Penn State

Penn State Startup Week brings some of the leading minds in entrepreneurship and innovation to Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth. Past Penn State Startup Week events have featured entrepreneurial workshops; networking events; student pitch competitions; and presentations from startup founders and corporate innovators, including many Penn State alumni.

By connecting students with innovative alumni and pioneers who are achieving success in a variety of disciplines—through startup initiatives of their own or with new ventures in already established organizations—Penn State Startup Week inspires students to go beyond what is expected of them and expand their minds to think more broadly in whatever career path they choose.

Planning for 2019 Penn State Startup Week is underway! If you would like to nominate a speaker or have suggestions for the week, please contact us at

Penn State Startup Week is a weeklong celebration of ingenuity and inspiration.

Startup Week was founded in 2012 by the College of Information Sciences and Technology as "IST Startup Week." The event was created to celebrate a $400,000 gift from David Rusenko ('07 IST) that advanced IST's commitment to supporting student entrepreneurs. The gift — the largest from a graduate in the college's history — created the "David Rusenko Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship" and the "David Rusenko Entrepreneur-in-Residence Scholarship," both of which continue to help IST students launch their own companies while they are still in school.

The growth of the event to Penn State Startup Week in 2017 built on this effort to engage nearly every corner of the University. Past events have drawn speakers from around the country, including the founders of and leaders at high-profile companies like Weebly, Dropbox, Reddit, Lands' End, IBM Watson, and Microsoft.

Penn State Startup Week features events that support the five thematic priorities from Penn State’s Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020 listed below. These events support the six foundational elements interwoven throughout the University’s Strategic Plan, and relate innovation to the Penn State's growing global engagement and influence.

Advancing the Arts and Humanities


Driving Digital Innovation


Enhancing Health


Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources


Transforming Education


Invent Penn State

Through Penn State Startup Week and other initiatives, such as entrepreneur-in-residence scholarships and the entrepreneurship and innovation (ENTI) minor, Penn State looks to strengthen its commitment to actively supporting the university’s Invent Penn State initiative.

The Invent Penn State initiative aims to drive economic development, a culture of entrepreneurship, and student career success by building a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem across campus and training students at the cutting edge, placing them in emerging fields and job opportunities.