Several years ago, local economic development and higher education officials recognized that with more and more companies moving overseas, new and innovative ways must be developed to create quality jobs for today’s economy. They noted the importance of support for start-up companies through targeted resources and services and the need for new business assistance in the Hazleton area.
After more than a year of planning by CAN DO staff and board members, along with officials from Penn State Hazleton, CAN BE (the Community Association for New Business Entrepreneurship) was established in early 2005 as CAN BE began to operate its incubator, the Greater Hazleton Business Innovation Center, in Valmont Industrial Park.
“CAN DO was founded in 1956 with the purpose of attracting new companies to Greater Hazleton and creating new jobs for local residents. The establishment of CAN BE and the assistance provided to local entrepreneurs fits perfectly with our mission,” said CAN DO President Kevin O’Donnell.
Since CAN BE began providing services to local entrepreneurs, 48 jobs have been created by 16 clients of the program. The incubator is located in a Pennsylvania Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), which offers tax credits as an incentive for new companies locating there.
Penn State Hazleton has been the primary partner of the incubator program since its inception.
The incubator also receives support from other regional colleges and universities; local business professionals who serve as mentors; governmental agencies; regional technology alliances; angel investor networks and other regional business incubators.