WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — “Let’s do this. Let’s change the way people know what our region is about,” Joseph Boylan, executive director of Wilkes-Barre’s Think Center, said.
The first-ever Wilkes-Barre Connect Conference was held in Wilkes-Barre Township. Over the last three days, business owners and entrepreneurs were given tools to connect, elevate, innovate, and accelerate their own businesses or personal brand. The goal of the conference was to highlight innovations that are helping change Northeastern Pennsylvania from a coal region to a hub of innovation.
“It was born out of the idea of just students coming together and saying ‘you know what. We need to share our story. Let’s show the world who we are and what we’re doing’,” Boylan said.
The conference was hosted by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry with speakers from IBM, Microsoft, and M.I.T. It included panels geared towards ‘The Future of Social Media’, ‘Navigating the NEPA Startup Community’ and ‘Establishing an Internship Program’.
“Smaller businesses are the backbone of our community right? Backbone of this nation. For us at the organization, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber, sixty-five percent of our members have five or less employees. So that is truly truly a huge focus of what we do,” Boylan said.
“I learned a few things about the area. I had an opportunity to present and talk about economic development to help the attendees to get a broader understanding of what’s happening in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and why this region is an economic engine and has real, incredible potential to grow more,” Teri Ooms, executive director of ‘The Institute’, said.
Organizers say this year’s conference was a success with over 250 attendees. They say they plan to hold another conference next year.