HONESDALE—Looking to bolster the spirit of entrepreneurship within Wayne County, and highlight ehe efforts currently being made, the Board of Commissioners proclaimed February 16-23 to be National Entrepreneurship Week in Wayne County.

Noting that Wayne County's entrepreneurship “grew organically” from the combined support of public and private entities, Susan Shaffer, Executive Director of the Stourbridge Project, stated, “some of the things that have been going on here are the national trends. And they're just starting to emerge.”

Shaffer added that, in recognizing National Entrepreneurship Week, “We have to really recognize that we have set the stage for success here in Wayne County.”

Itself a bulwark of entrepreneurial activity, The Stourbridge Project is currently home to six budding businesses in its incubator, with resources to help develop further forays into technological enterprises.

“The business incubator and accelerator is intended to grow technology jobs and technology companies here that will help balance out our ... business profile here in the county,” said Shaffer.

The Stourbridge Project also has a digital media lab, prototyping lab and coworking space with high-speed broadband internet to support entrepreneurial activity.

The Stourbridge Project is open to all users for free from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday—Friday with membership available to access the facilities outside this time frame.

Noting there is a significant amount of entrepreneurship within the agricultural community, Chelsea Hill, Penn State Extension Livestock/4-H Educator, stated, “Our youth programs are really where the entrepreneurship starts ... 4-H members are essentially doing business models. They have small businesses.”

Hill noted many now established farmers got their start in 4-H learning how to manage the business side of farming.

Entrepreneurship activities this week

Individuals interested in starting their own businesses can look forward to a plethora of activities next week, starting with the 41st annual Ag Day, on Monday, February 18, sponsored by the Wayne County PennState Extension (PSE).

Starting at 10 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. Ag day offers a chance for individuals to gather at Honesdale High School and discuss hot topics in the county's agriculture industry, discuss opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship within the industry, and meet with ag professionals.

Hill explained there are “...lots of educational sessions this year” and “innovative technology” on display. “It's for anybody who wants to learn about agriculture or are in the industry.”

Hill explained the event will have booths set up in the high school gym featuring representatives from dairy, maple, forestry, livestock and other industries.

Additionally, there will be three speakers giving group presentations in the auditorium.

These include Dave Hartman, discussing forages for dairy cattle and livestock, Casey Guindon, offering a pesticide education credit training, and Phillip Gottwalls, the consultant hired by the Wayne Tomorrow initiative to investigate potential means of bolstering Wayne County's ag industry.

Hartman and Guindon will both present in the morning and Gottwalls in the afternoon.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

On Tuesday, February 19, The Stourbridge Project is hosting two networking opportunities.

The first begins at 11:30 a.m., wherein Wayne Tomorrow members and community stakeholders can participate in a webinar led by Gary Schoeniger which focuses on entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Schoeniger is the founder of the Entrepreneurial Learning Institute and will discuss the importance of initiatives like Wayne Tomorrow in encouraging entrepreneurial growth.

The second networking opportunity will occur between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Raja Bhattacharya, Director of the Northampton Community College Follett Family Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will discuss ways educators can influence entrepreneurial thinking to meet state standards.

Finally, closing out Entrepreneurship Week activities, on Thursday, February 21, from 6-8 p.m., The Stourbridge Project will host a NEPA Tech networking event aimed at showcasing the tech companies and tech opportunities in the area.

Additionally, tenants at The Stourbridge Project will discuss the future of tech companies and what it takes to make one.