York College to unveil expansion of entrepreneur center


An expansion to a facility on York College's campus will better help incubator or start-up businesses working there to "hatch" and bolster internship opportunities on campus for its students.

The addition to the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship's wet lab space — a laboratory where chemicals, drugs or other material or biological matter is handled — will be unveiled at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

"We started this entrepreneurial program in 2006, and, essentially, the idea was to have a place where we could provide students with a live entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial experience to get them into that setting," said Justin Walker, the college's business development manager.

J.D. Brown Center: In 2011, the 10,000-square-foot facility was opened, and it featured a wet lab and several business suites for a variety of start-up businesses as well as the Fortune 500 company Johnson Controls.

"An incubator business is like a start-up that's in its post-garage or basement phase," Walker said. "The facility offers them an affordable space and access to the college's various resources and faculty; that's really the big draw, to be able to come in and use these resources to their advantage."

The suites host a range of businesses, such as ad agencies and print companies, while the wet lab is occupied by SiGNa Chemistry, a New York-based oil and gas recovery company that does most of its research in Pennsylvania, and MRG Labs, the creators of Grease Thief, a product used for obtaining grease samples.

Growing: The expansion will allow for SiGNa to conduct further oil and gas industry research and MRG to package its product.

"They see the space and see what they can do with it," Walker said. "(The expansion) makes sense for them, and it makes sense for us."

The $100,000 addition to the center will be paid for by a grant obtained by the college.

"All we do is let them use the space," Walker said. "All of the equipment is theirs, and they do all of their development and research work here. We bring in all of these businesses and encourage them to take on student interns, and a lot of the time they do."

But the businesses won't call the J.D. Brown Center home forever.

"They come and go and change out pretty frequently," Walker said. "Every year or so, once they hatch, they move on and we make the space available to someone else."

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com