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          • Edinboro expands small business support through FirstEnergy Foundation grant

          Edinboro expands small business support through FirstEnergy Foundation grant

          September 10, 2018

          Edinboro expands small business support through FirstEnergy Foundation grant

          Small business owners looking to launch a brand campaign will now have expanded tools and services at Edinboro University through a donation from the FirstEnergy Foundation.

          The FirstEnergy Foundation has provided a $20,000 grant to support Edinboro University’s Center for Branding and Strategic Communication, which was launched this spring. Assisting start-up regional businesses, Edinboro’s Center provides services in graphic and web design, video production and comprehensive public relations.

          “This is truly a project that connects Edinboro University’s students, faculty and staff with the small business community in an effort to practice what we teach in the classroom,” said Michael Hannan, interim president of Edinboro University. “This support from the FirstEnergy Foundation enhances our capability to serve the region through this real-world application.”

          Last semester, Edinboro’s Center for Branding and Strategic Communication served 11 clients and engaged five classes and nearly 60 students on a variety of projects that included graphic and web design, video production and comprehensive public relations campaigns.

          “We are pleased to support Edinboro University with this grant to continue their economic development efforts in the area,” said Dee Lowery, president of the FirstEnergy Foundation. “We remain committed to building a stronger economy and workforce for the future, a commitment shared by Edinboro University.”

          In addition, the Beehive employs several undergraduate students and provides graduate assistantships and stipends to two to four graduate students all working to develop innovative and collaborative creative projects.

          “This program’s appeal to the university is that it not only connects our students with potential clients, but it also shows cooperation between Edinboro University and our neighboring institutions,” said Dr. Tony Peyronel, executive director of Edinboro’s Center for Branding and Strategic Communication. “Our mission is to see the business community in Northwest Pennsylvania thrive and reach new heights through this collaborative effort.”

          Part of the NWPA Innovation Beehive Network, a collaborative initiative between Edinboro, Penn State Behrend, Gannon University and Mercyhurst University, the Center for Branding and Strategic Communication focuses on facilitating new business development in Northwest Pennsylvania.

          This new initiative at Edinboro is funded by grants from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, Ignite Erie (Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority), the Appalachian Regional Commission (Department of Community and Economic Development) and the Economic Development Administration (Department of Commerce).

          This summer, Brigette Davitt, the center’s creative director, completed a mural in the branding lab, which is located on the second floor of Baron-Forness Library. Diane Crandall and Cassandra Reese, from the Art Department, and Chris Lantinen and Stewart Nash, from Communication, Journalism and Media, assisted with the project along with Rosmari Graham, director of Grants and Sponsored Programs.

          Potential clients interested in using the center’s services should contact Dr. Peyronel at (814) 732-2166 or apeyronel@edinboro.edu.

          With photo: Marybeth Smialek, director of external affairs at FirstEnergy; Jon Pulice, Edinboro’s director of athletic development; Dr. Michael Hannan, interim president, Marilyn Goellner, vice president university advancement; and Brian Paganie, manager of external affairs at FirstEnergy, met this month for the presentation of a $20,000 award for the Edinboro University Foundation.