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York College incubates entrepreneurial spirit among students

York College Global Entrepreneurship Week
School to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week with lecture Nov. 16 at the Willman Business Center featuring student entrepreneur panelists.

York College of Pennsylvania will celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week this November with a lecture featuring risk-takers who found a way to change the world while working on their own.

But attendees might be surprised to know the panelists aren’t globetrotting business tycoons who’ve won an investment on Shark Tank, but rather people a little more familiar – as in somebody from English class.

York College student entrepreneurs will steal the spotlight during the next installment of the Henry D. Schmidt Lecture Series, scheduled for Nov. 16 at the Willman Business Center. Students will discuss their journey into entrepreneurship, including their experiences working in the business incubator at the school’s J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship.

Oscar Winters, associate director for the J.D. Brown Center, sees the lecture as an opportunity to show more students they can be an entrepreneur at the same time they’re studying at York College. That’s especially true now that the center has reserved seven, 100-square-foot suites exclusively for student startups.

“I’d love to have a student stop in my office and say, ‘Hey, I was at that lecture series last night. How can I do that?’” Winters says. “That’s just the kickoff to something special.”

While the message is that the center is open to all students, Winters also knows that it takes a special type of person to give up nights out with friends in exchange for working deep into the night. Ultimately, it comes down to having passion, and that’s something the student panelists have shown already, Winters said.

“I get the impression if they weren’t doing this for a business, they’d be doing this for fun anyway,” he says.

Maybe so.  In November, they’ll get to explain exactly what drives them. In the meantime, here’s just a preview of some of the student panelists’ thoughts on entrepreneurship and how York College has nurtured their business spirit.

Mat Jones

Startup: Episo, a video platform for content creators

Future aspirations: To be a full-stack web application developer, ideally for a small company

What makes entrepreneurship appealing to him: “I've always had the philosophy that if you don't truly enjoy what you're working on, then you have the wrong job. Starting a company or working in a small startup gives you the opportunity to do exactly what you want to do.”

How York College fosters entrepreneurship: “Aside from the incredible education I've received so far, the biggest thing is the opportunity for personal relationships with the professors. I would consider Professor (Don) Hake to be my mentor, and over the last three years, he's encouraged me to explore new areas of study within computer science, taught me to believe in myself more than I ever did before, and fostered in me an insatiable desire to learn.”

Travis Jones

Startup: Provino, which aims to give small theaters a 21st-century tool to streamline the audition experience

Future aspirations: To work in development of computer software and/or hardware

What makes entrepreneurship appealing to him: “The opportunity to take an idea that matters and solve it in a way that benefits everyone is exciting. As an engineering student, we have a lot of hypothetical problems, but it's great to find a problem that actually needs a solution and work independently to solve that problem.”

What he’d tell a high school considering York College: “This college will personally work with you to help you succeed and give you opportunities to excel in whatever your passion is. I would definitely recommend you at least visit and see what York College is all about.”

If you go

The J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship will be hosting another installment of its Schmidt Lecture Series on the afternoon of November 16, 2017. The event, located in Yorkview Hall on the 5th floor of the Wilman Business Center, will begin at 3:30 p.m.

This installment will feature a panel of young student and recent alumni entrepreneurs who are housed in the Student Incubator located in the JD Brown Center. The panel will be moderated by Dale Carey, a successful entrepreneur and YCP alum, who will ask questions relating to the students, their businesses, and their experiences in entrepreneurship. The panel is open to the entire campus community.

YCP students who attend will be entered into a drawing to win valuable prizes, announced at the end of the event.

Please send your RSVP to Oscar Winters at owinters@ycp.edu by November 13th. Students must RSVP to be entered into the prize drawing.


Open to students and the community, the Henry D. Schmidt Lecture Series in Innovation and Entrepreneurship is designed to offer insight into the creative process and drive of the entrepreneur, and to stimulate discussion about the connection between a comprehensive, liberal arts education and entrepreneurship; and to empower (or inspire) our students, alumni, and community members to follow their own path towards creativity, innovation, and self-employment.