By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — Pepperjam can simulcast meetings at its offices throughout the world without leaving its corporate headquarters in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
The company formerly known as eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions has been taking advantage of a new technology workshop and multimedia center that recently opened in the Innovation Center on South Main Street.
The focal point of the center is a 50-seat theater and lecture hall with equipment to host virtual meetings, podcasts, lectures, competitions, training programs, mentoring sessions and teleconferences.
Pepperjam recently hosted a global sales meeting and a business conference at the new 6,000-square-foot Wilkes-Barre THINK Center. The facility is a great place to bring in speakers or large groups of people together and simulcast and record events, said Michael Jones, CEO of Pepperjam.
With Pepperjam having 10 offices around the world, it’s not easy to have everyone in the same room, so being able to hold informational sessions in real time regardless of geography is fantastic, Mr. Jones said.
Mr. Jones said he and Pepperjam officials worked closely with Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber officials to design a center they thought would have an impact for the local business community.
“We spend a lot of time as a business traveling around to Silicon Valley and other places and we see what kind of assets the technology world is using now to position their businesses and make a difference and we came up with the idea for the technology center,” Mr. Jones said.
In addition to the 50-seat theater and lecture hall, the center on the lower level of the Innovation Center also provides people with the tools and support they need to turn a concept into a business.
It features co-working space with tables where students and entrepreneurs can meet, work, network, share ideas and collaborate as well as three tech-driven conference rooms, including one with a Penn State theme.
Penn State provided a $50,000 grant to support the project and the remaining $250,000 came from local slots revenue from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, said Joe Boylan, chamber vice president of economic development.
“We felt it was appropriate to make a Penn State room,” Mr. Boylan said. “They were the first group on board to support what we were doing.”
Mr. Jones said the center is unique in Northeast Pennsylvania and is an ideal place where entrepreneurial-minded people could go to flush out ideas.
“It is a world-class facility where they could not only present their business ideas, but basically be able to position their business to potential investors, potential clients and potential partners,” Mr. Jones said. “It’s a big achievement in the area.”
The chamber also launched an initiative called “Wilkes-Barre Connect,” that brings together partner service providers to ensure that all startup and existing businesses have access to the resources, services and facilities they need to grow their business in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Wilkes-Barre Connect offers mentoring, training, networking and technical assistance as well as connections to financial opportunities such as bank financing, loans and lines of credit.
“When you come here, we want to take what your concept is, build a business plan for you, do the market research, find some funding opportunities and then get you up to the incubator space or out where you need to be,” Mr. Boylan said. “We want to ensure when a business comes in, we got all the support they need along the way.”
The Wilkes-Barre Connect program is integral to economic development in that it coordinates a “unique system of resources to support both startup and existing businesses to ensure they get the resources they need from trusted sources as well as an advocate that will work to help them succeed,” said Teri Ooms, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development.
Wilkes-Barre Connect services are free.
Over the next three months, a “101 series” of short videos will be filmed about basic principles in areas such as accounting, social media, marketing, web design, information technology and human resources, Mr. Boylan said. When people join Wilkes-Barre Connect, they will have access to the videos for free. For more information about the Wilkes-Barre THINK Center and Wilkes-Barre Connect, go to connect.wilkes-barre.org or call 570-408-1732.
Contact the writer: