Making Entrepreneurship Accessible in Rural America

4. Challenges: Early Challenges that Emerged

Institutional Processes Slowed Progress

Navigating University processes took time.

As campuses began to implement plans, they started running into challenges navigating processes inside of Penn State—from branding approvals to rental agreements, coworking membership contracts to partnership agreements.

Navigating this learning curve slowed each location’s ability to start supporting local entrepreneurs and created many questions.

Working to speed up processes.

The advance team fielded as many questions as they could, and some senior personnel were able to work behind the scenes to gain approvals or work through issues, thereby speeding up the process.

  • Members of the advance team started making themselves available for weekly open office hours.
  • Chancellors and staff were encouraged to jump on a call and discuss potential challenges with the advance team.
  • The advance team began proactively sharing strategies and best practices with awardees to avoid unnecessary slowdowns. But it quickly became clear that even more support was needed.

Without this early leadership and support, each campus would have spent its first year looking for individual solutions to shared challenges instead of testing out potential offerings within their local ecosystems.

To learn more, jump to Insights: Start with engaged leadership.

Learn more about lessons learned and recommendations.