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Online service connects Pennsylvania manufacturers, investors

| Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 8:49 p.m.
Connie Palucka, managing director of business growth services at Catalyst Connection is showin in the Catalyst Connection office on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. Palucka believes the Innovation Marketplace could make a “huge impact” on manufacturing in Pennsylvania. “It gives reach to not just small companies but to larger organizations as well,” Palucka said. “There is a wealth of tools to use and it is a great resource for clients to get their names out.” Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review

A website aims to connect manufacturers and businesses to technology-based opportunities across Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Corbett's Manufacturing Advisory Council, led by the Team PA Foundation, suggested developing the Innovation Marketplace to encourage collaboration.

The website is designed to match manufacturers to technology and business opportunities, and to let users search for statewide and national technology opportunities, said James Menser, spokesman for Team PA Foundation.

The marketplace provides access to a database outlining technology available throughout the state and allows manufacturers to submit ideas to potential investors, partners or customers. It helps users find firms to put ideas into production.

“Delivering innovative products quicker to the marketplace is good business sense and a huge benefit to Pennsylvania's economy,” Menser said.

The council hopes the marketplace will foster a collaborative spirit among business, government, trade organizations and universities to bring about growth and innovation, the council said in its report.

Lauren Bryson, director of the Industrial Resource Network, creators of the marketplace, said the state's site links to the National Innovation Marketplace, a service of the Department of Commerce. This allows manufacturers and businesses to look outside Pennsylvania if they cannot find someone to meet their needs in-state.

“The goal is to make Pennsylvania connections first, if possible, but we do not want to limit innovations and allow users to move to a national level as needed,” Bryson said.

Since its September launch, the marketplace posted 59 innovation business opportunities and 60 manufacturing or research and development opportunities, according to Bryson.

Connie Palucka, managing director of business growth for Catalyst Connection, a Pittsburgh-based consulting firm, said the Innovation Marketplace could make a “huge impact” on manufacturing in Pennsylvania.

Catalyst Connection is introducing clients to the marketplace, and reactions have been positive, Palucka said.

“It gives reach to not just small companies but to larger organizations as well,” Palucka said. “There is a wealth of tools to use and it is a great resource for clients to get their names out.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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