Events planned in Hazleton to mark entrepreneurship week

HAZLETON, Pa. — Penn State Hazleton, the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress and CAN BE held a series of events for Global Entrepreneurship Week. 

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and innovation. GEW at Penn State was first held on the University Park campus in 2009, the year after the international founding of GEW, and since then it has continued to grow exponentially. In 2009, GEW hosted five events, engaging 48 students. In 2017, GEW Penn State organized 105 events at 16 different Commonwealth locations, drawing 4,816 students, faculty, staff and community participants.

Several presentations were livestreamed from University Park throughout the week. To learn more, visit

Events held at Penn State Hazleton were:

“What’s Your Big Idea?” presented by Associate Professor of Business Sherry Robinson from 12:15-1:15 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 12 and 13, in the upper level of the Charles Butler Teaching and Learning Resource Center at Penn State Hazleton.

During these sessions, faculty, staff and students can brainstorm new business ideas and share them in a competition for prizes. Judges will review the entries and there will also be a “people’s choice” vote taken.

Robinson has studied entrepreneurship for over two decades, having written her doctoral dissertation on the motives and management styles of rural women small business owners. For many years, she ran an international entrepreneurship summer program in which visiting European students worked together with Penn State Hazleton students to develop and present innovative business ideas.

She was recently selected as one of the few participants in the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) Curriculum Design Consortium to be held in conjunction with the annual conference in Florida.

“Speak Your Business!” presented by Assistant Teaching Professor of Business Ellen Raineri from 9:45-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, in the Slusser/Bayzick Building at Penn State Hazleton.

This event gives dual-enrolled high school students from Hazleton Area High School and the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences the chance to apply their knowledge to entrepreneurship. In this fun-filled workshop, students will define informative, persuasive and entertainment speeches. Then, they’ll move right along to strategize the content needed to create multiple types of public speeches for an entrepreneur’s product or service.

Raineri is an experienced entrepreneur who has been involved in three small businesses. She worked as a strategic planner/management consultant, is the author of a book on business and spirituality, and now is a broker/owner of a commercial real estate firm. She has also worked in corporate for over 15 years in leadership roles. She has led corporate initiatives for new technology products, new technology services, and new company divisions. 

Raineri has more than 12 years of teaching experience and has taught entrepreneurship courses for 10 years. She is a full-time faculty member at Penn State Hazleton and the Penn State World Campus. She has attended the Experiential Classroom Clinic/Lifelong Learning for Entrepreneurship Education Professions and won the Teaching Excellence Award. She conducted a workshop at the national U.S. Association for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) conference, has researched entrepreneurship in her dissertation and has been published in several journals.

Raineri holds a doctorate in organization and management. She earned her master’s of business administration in information systems and was awarded the medal for Excellence in Business. She also earned a graduate certificate in Information Assurance and Security and holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a bachelor’s degree in English and education. 

“Before Social, Conquer Google!” presented by Mike Jesky at two times/locations on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Session 1 will be held at Penn State Hazleton in Room 105 of the Kostos Building from 1:25 to 2:15 p.m., and Session 2 will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, 8 W. Broad St., Hazleton. The second session is open to the public and RSVP is required for Session 2 by calling 570-455-1509 or emailing [email protected].

Jesky is a digital media specialist and owner of Dekka Studios, a fully integrated digital marketing firm based in the Lehigh Valley. Whether you’re launching a new business, or have been operating since the 1800s, this program will highlight the most important and overlooked features of the “Google My Business” portal that can help your business rank higher, serve more customers, and make more money. Topics will include the importance of claiming your listing, completing your business profile, changing the (often-wrong) map markers, best practices for adding authorized users, handling multiple locations, merging duplicate listings, keeping your hours updated, making sure your phone number is correct, uploading photos, adding 360-degree tours, viewing business page insights, enabling text messaging, and why you should respond to every review (especially the negative ones). The session will touch on the portals for Google Webmasters, Google Ads, and Google G Suite email and why they are important.

A Hazleton native and Penn State graduate with a degree in communications, Jesky was a journalist for five years before entering the public relations, advertising and marketing world in 1999. Over the years, he has worked on a large number of campaigns for clients in a wide range of fields, including economic development, commercial real estate, government, engineering, healthcare, law, defense and politics.

From concept to execution, Jesky has managed web and print projects for many clients, including Penn State, PPL, the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, the City of Hazleton, the City of Allentown, CareerLink, Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board, Service Access & Management, CAN DO, Inc., Schuylkill Economic Development Corp., Carbon County Economic Development Corp., Berwick Industrial Development Association and more. He monitors the latest developments in social media, app development, mobile internet, online advertising, content management systems and industry trends.

“Tools to XEL (Excel) in Entrepreneurship” presented by Alexander “Lex” Sloot, from 4:30 to 5:50 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Slusser/Bayzick Building at Penn State Hazleton. The event is open to the public and no RSVP is required for this session.

During this session, Sloot, author of “The Tools to XEL” and “Viability – The Essence of Existence,” both of which focus on motivation, philosophy and life skills, will discuss with students in an international business class how he became a successful entrepreneur and ways that participants can, too. Highlighting his first book, he will reference goals, preparation, creativity, focus and persistence. He will also discuss business development information and marketing ideas and ways to become a successful entrepreneur.

Originally from South Africa, Sloot and his wife, Jennifer, immigrated to the United States in 1978. Shortly after arriving, they started their business, Printmark Industries Inc. Their company focused on manufacturing reflective safety products and these products were marketed all over the USA and Canada. The Sloots sold the business in 2009.

Sloot is currently engaged in real estate development and he owns several commercial buildings in the Hazleton area. He also owns a number of digital billboards in the Hazleton region and operates a publishing business that publishes gourmet recipe books, family puzzle and activity sheets, printed placemats and printed pizza boxes.

Sloot has a degree in marketing and communications and has many years of successful manufacturing, marketing and business experience both in South Africa and in the U.S. He is also a classical pianist and an inventor who holds more than 40 U.S. patents. He has given numerous talks at colleges, universities and high schools in northeastern Pennsylvania. He also gives seminars for adults of all ages providing a myriad of methods for how all attendees can dramatically improve their lives.