Making Entrepreneurship Accessible in Rural America

Playbook Definitions

Accelerator – fixed-term, cohort-based program designed to help entrepreneurs validate their ideas, test the market, and identify a sustainable business model, programs typically include mentoring, networking, and often end with a pitch competition

Advance team – group of individuals that provided early support for LaunchBox locations and included Penn State’s VP of Commonwealth Campuses, several senior university staff, and an informal group of advisers with business experience

Chancellor – the chief executive and academic officer at a Penn State campus (excluding University Park) responsible for the quality of academic programs in teaching, research, and service there, including strategic planning, budgeting, philanthropy, faculty and staff development, recruiting and evaluations, outreach, and alumni relations

Penn State Campuses – as a geographically dispersed university, Penn State has 21 campuses located across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The 20 campuses located outside of the flagship campus at University Park are overseen by the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, who reports to the University Provost

Coworking – a workspace designed to support individuals who are self-employed or working remotely for other organizations

Customer discovery – the iterative process of testing assumptions about customer needs and pain points, a key tenet of lean startup, the process can be used prior to identifying or building a potential solution, and as part of testing the usefulness of a proposed solution

Early-stage – a company that is at the beginning of defining and acquiring their customer base, iterating on their solution, and identifying a viable business model

Economic development – programs, policies, and activities designed to generate improvements to the economic, health, and social well-being of individuals within a community

Endowed gift/fund – a gift, or fund, where the total amount, or principal, is invested, resulting in interest income that can be leveraged for a specific purpose, allowing the fund to generate income in perpetuity

Entrepreneur – an individual who envisions, launches, and manages a business undertaking while assuming the associated financial risks

Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic – a no-cost legal clinic in association with Penn State Law that provides services that include creating formal business entities, developing co-founder agreements, identifying potential liabilities, and drafting contracts

Penn State Law Intellectual Property Clinic – a no-cost legal clinic in association with Penn State Law that provides legal services that include general intellectual property counseling, patentability and trademark clearance searches, patent application drafts, and intellectual property and licensing agreement reviews

Prototyping – a draft version of a physical or digital product that allows you to test the concept or process

Entrepreneurship – the activity of creating, launching, and running a business while taking on the associated financial risks

Entrepreneurial ecosystem – a blend of social, economic, and cultural factors, plus interdependent actors and organizations that directly or indirectly support the creation and sustainability of businesses within a community

Extension – a modern educational organization dedicated to delivering science-based information to people, businesses, and communities via face-to-face and online education, click here to read more about Penn State Extension

Design thinking – an iterative problem-solving process based on human-centered design techniques used to envision a solution starting from the perspective of what is desirable from a human point of view, it consists of five phases: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing

Industry 4.0 – the integration of net technologies such as smart sensors, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things to optimize and improve manufacturing and distribution processes

Innovation – a novel idea, method, or device

Innovation space – a physical space designed to spur creativity and support the creation and advancement of new ideas, new businesses, new products or new processes that often includes the latest tools and technologies, as well as spaces designed for brainstorming, collaborative “play,” and rapid prototyping supplies such as paper, scissors, sticky notes, and large sheets of blank paper

Land-grant institution – an institution of higher education in the United States that received federal aid under the Morrill Act to establish a public institution designed to provide research-based programs and educational resources to improve the lives of those in the state, a key component of which is focused on agriculture

Lean startup – a method and set of tools designed to speed the process and reduce risks associated with evaluating the potential of a new business idea through a series of assumption-driven experiments

Main street business – typically an independently owned brick-and-mortar store located in the main thoroughfare of a town

Makerspace – a communal facility or workshop that provides tools and technologies for making and prototyping physical products

Minimal viable products – the smallest set of features that provides some value to a customer to address a defined problem or need

Nextovation – an inclusive and collaborative initiative focused on real change and regional revitalization in the new digital economy, referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0

Place-based entrepreneurial ecosystem – business and entrepreneurial services and resources that are rooted in the local community and take into account local needs, history, environment, economy, and culture.

Placemaking – planning and design of public spaces that inspire those who use them and promote creativity to improve the lives of those in the local community

Pivot – to change or alter the current course based on direct or indirect feedback

Rural – an area that typically has low population density (less than 50,000), limited access to large cities, and consist of large areas of farmland, or undeveloped land, and considerable traveling distances to market areas for work and everyday activities

Scalable – a business, or idea, that has the potential to grow quickly into a large profitable company

Small business – a business that employs fewer than 20 employees

Small Business Development Center – a national economic development organization focused primarily on working with current business owners to help them run and grow their businesses

Startup activity – the process or movement toward establishing a formal business entity, identifying the viability of an idea, building and commercializing a solution or offering, acquiring customers, and seeking investment

Tech-based – products and services that leverage technology in their creation or provide a solution to customers

Tech transfer – process by which research inventions are turned into products and commercialized

Startup – an organization seeking to develop and validate a sustainable business model by bringing a product or services to market to address a need or problem of a defined customer

Urban – an area that typically has high population density (more than 50,000), with a heterogeneous population, access to a wide variety of non-agricultural jobs, and an infrastructure that facilitates a variety of transportation, health care, and schooling options

Underrepresented entrepreneurs – any group of individuals that historically had limited, restricted, or no access to startup resources, including, but not limited to women, minorities, people with disabilities, those in rural areas, and LGBTQ+ individuals

VP of Commonwealth Campuses – the individual who supervises all aspects of administration—including academic and student affairs, human resources, sponsored programs and campus athletics—for Penn State’s statewide campus system, which enrolls approximately 25,000 students in associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs

“Winner-take-most” economics – an economy in which the best performers consume the most resources and garner the most attention, leaving others with very little support and resources to advance their ventures