Penn State Shenango innovation hub helps kickstart alumnae’s purposeful startup

“In moving into the new building, Penn State Shenango and the City of Hermitage have been wonderful with us and have helped us along the way with various grants and opportunities for us to speak and spread the word about our business,” said Izu. “When they knew we were going to graduate from the innovation hub and look for a place, all the people in town we reached out to were trying to help us find a place. It was a really nice transition.”

When the company originally operated from VenturePointe, one of 21 innovation spaces at the Invent Penn State LaunchBox & Innovation Hub Network, Masters and Izzo leveraged their free services and resources to help the company grow. This included taking advantage of networking opportunities, expert speaker sessions, and the Pennsylvania State Law Clinic, which helped them set up their LLC.

“I knew right from the start the passion that Ali and Holly had when they started crafting their business ideas for the Purpose Curative Fund,” said VenturePointe coordinator Georgia McCriss. “I have served as their coordinator and facilitator for setting up shop at the Shenango VenturePointe Innovation Center Collection in Pennsylvania, and they have been working here for several years to take advantage of Invent Penn State resources. We are very proud at Penn State Shenango for their continued efforts and growth.”

In addition to the resources at VenturePointe, the Purpose Therapy Box has used the Northwest Pennsylvania Innovation Beehive Network, a formal collaborative agreement between Penn State Behrend, Innovation Commons, nearby universities, and the Erie County Public Library that provides an expanded range of free services to entrepreneurs and businesses. This network helped Purpose Therapy Box with its logo, website, and other marketing needs.

The Curing Purpose Fund has also tapped into the resources of the Pennsylvania Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, including the U.S. Enterprise Competition. The company won $15,000 in funding in 2019 through a Shark Tank-style pitch competition. This was the first competition winner from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth campus.

At the 2019 Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference, Izzo presented business in front of industry advisors and venture capitalists from across the country. The business was awarded $2,000 to help move forward.

“Once you get into the VenturePointe system, it becomes a huge network,” Masters said. “If we ever have a question, we can reach out and someone will be able to help us. There are always people willing to help and listen to what we are trying to achieve.”

About Invent Penn State

Invent Penn State is a Commonwealth level initiative to stimulate economic development, job creation and student career success.

The Invent Penn State LaunchBox & Innovation Hub network consists of 21 innovation spaces embedded in campus communities in Pennsylvania that offer free co-working space, workspace, accelerator programs, pitch competitions, speaker series, access to experts and mentors, legal affairs and intellectual property advice Through Penn State Law Clinics. Five years after opening, the Invent Penn State LaunchBox & Innovation Hub Network has supported 3,325 community entrepreneurs, created 194.5 jobs, and helped launch 164 new Pennsylvania businesses. Gifts to support the network, as well as selected economic development initiatives across the Commonwealth, are a priority for the university’s current fundraising campaign, “Greater Pennsylvania State for Excellence in the Twenty-first Century”.

To find out more about how to give a gift and secure the match before the campaign ends on June 30, 2022, please contact Heather Winfield at Information about the campaign is available at

To find a location near you, visit

To view more Penn State startups, visit Entrepreneurs looking for resources can visit

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