Center in Lewisburg helps start-ups

PHOTO PROVIDED
From left, Kevin Langdon, a StartupLewisburg member and CTO of Play Impossible, with Tyler Paulson and Chris Kisvarday, adjunct faculty, Bucknell University, at a Tech Meetup Lewisburg event. Play Impossible has developed a gaming system.

PHOTO PROVIDED From left, Kevin Langdon, a StartupLewisburg member and CTO of Play Impossible, with Tyler Paulson and Chris Kisvarday, adjunct faculty, Bucknell University, at a Tech Meetup Lewisburg event. Play Impossible has developed a gaming system.

Like many people who dream of owning and operating their own businesses, Deena Eberhart was unsure if she could make it happen.

But thanks to the Bucknell Small Business Development Center incubator program, she’s getting the support she needs to get started.

“It’s really a great space,” said Eberhart, owner of Sidekick Marketing Support.

The incubator, known as StartupLewisburg, includes a number of small businesses, like Eberhart’s, who are trying to become established.

Located in downtown Lewisburg, the incubator leases out space at low costs to various entrepreneurs while providing a number of services for businesses.

StartupLewisburg allows Eberhart to avoid the usual economic hurdles that many business owners face such as high rent and electricity and internet hookup costs.

Steve Stumbris, Bucknell’s center director, said the incubator is the university’s effort to reach out to the business community and encourage and inspire entrepreneurs.

He said the hope too is that companies will remain in the area and perhaps contribute to the local community’s economy.

“We have a dozen member firms,” he said. “There are a range of spaces they inhabit.”

In the past six months, three firms graduated or outgrew the incubator to locate elsewhere, according to Stumbris.

The incubator is strategically located on the second floor of the DeWitt Building at 416 Market St, a floor below the downtown headquarters for the Bucknell center where businesses owner are close to the counseling and information services.

Eberhart, for one, finds StartupLewisburg’s services very helpful.

“It provides a space that is needed on my end,” she said. “The resources are second to none.”

The networking and shared experiences can be valuable and the incubator offers a low-cost location for her business which she might otherwise have to locate in her home.

“I have a space that is free from distractions,” she said. “There are other start-up companies like me. You don’t feel so alone.”

Stumbris said new companies that are working with the center are eligible to locate in the incubator.

Ideally, they are looking to collaborate with Bucknell,” he said. “Many have some innovative way of using technology.”

The companies include software-based businesses and those like Eberhart’s start-up, a marketing type company.

“Basically, I help small businesses with their marketing, from creating websites and email marketing to social media and content writing,” Eberhart said.

StartupLewisburg is among the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s 15-member incubator network.

Other incubators in the network are located in communities that include Bloomsburg and Sayre.