O'Pake Spark Business Incubator Pottsville CollegeTowne

From left: Alvernia trustee Michael Tobash, District Attorney Michael O’Pake, Alvernia President Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.; Alvernia graduate student John “Jack” Cossa, Dr. Rodney S. Ridley, O’Pake Executive Director of Student & Client Services Michelle Conway, MBA, Savas Logothetides 

O’Pake joins PADCO and IGNITE Schuylkill to expand economic development efforts 

Alvernia University's O'Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship launched Spark Business Incubator services at the University’s Pottsville CollegeTowne campus on Thursday, Oct. 5 in partnership with Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO) and the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce's IGNITE Schuylkill.  


“Alvernia and O’Pake’s mission is to serve those in the communities that we reside, and we are thrilled to be able to support PADCO and IGNITE Schuylkill in strengthening Pottsville's entrepreneurial community by providing our business services and resources,” said Alvernia University Vice President of Research, Economic Development and Innovation and Chief Operating Officer of the O’Pake Institute Rodney S. Ridley, Ph.D., RTTP. “PADCO and IGNITE Schuylkill are the natural homes for critical economic development activity, aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and community outreach in Pottsville and Schuylkill County, making them integral to this venture.” 


Schuylkill County for-profit, non-profit, small and established businesses now have access to services including funding preparation through the Financial Lending and Innovation Collaborative, business model canvasing, business plan development, feasibility analysis, financial services, industry research, intellectual property (IP) acquisition, IP management, IP search, IP strategy, logo development, market research, non-profit advising, opportunity assessment product and prototype development, publishing, social media marketing posting plan and strategy, SWOT analysis, venture investment preparation, and website development. 


“[The O’Pake Institute] helped us get our startup business on track with their expertise,” said the CEO of Volunteers in Medicine, Bob Alonge. “They helped me with things I did not know how to do. We are early into this semester, so we are still a work in progress, but I can tell you that I do not believe that I would be this far in our business without Alvernia." 


PADCO was founded in 1984 to oversee the Revitalization of the Pottsville Downtown Commercial District. PADCO offers an array of financial and operational small business support and coordinates with many other organizations throughout the county to help small businesses develop or expand, depending on their needs. IGNITE Schuylkill is an entrepreneurial development program for aspiring business owners designed to support and nurture the growth of early-stage businesses. IGNITE Schuylkill provides business owners access to a professional network of over 800+ member organizations and business solution-driven programs, including money savings programs, workforce development, talent attraction and more.  


“Small business as a whole is constantly evolving.  The resources we have as a PADCO-Alvernia partnership and the existing networks currently in place can help to facilitate a business climate that aligns with everyone’s goals,” said Executive Director of PADCO, Owner/Operator of Wheel Restaurant Group, and SavasLogo Restaurants LLC, Savas Logothetides. “Technical services, financing, and helping to create and sustain business in the area is at the forefront of helping this community. Our alignment on creating economic and community development and the impact we can have on the community at large is a benefit for everyone involved.  

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