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Bits of business: Second vaping store opens in Centre County

Two local startups, Heliome and Biotransitions, got a boost from the State College TechCelerator, located at Innovation Park.
Two local startups, Heliome and Biotransitions, got a boost from the State College TechCelerator, located at Innovation Park. Centre Daily Times, file

A vaping retail company has opened several shops in central Pennsylvania, and the latest is close to home in downtown State College.

The retailer also has locations in Indiana, Johnstown and Altoona.

Vapor Expressions, according to its Facebook page, opened on East Calder Way in November. It is the second vaping store in Centre County.

Owners did not return calls or emails.

Earning prizes

Two local startups got a boost from the State College TechCelerator, located at Innovation Park.

Heliome and Biotransitions were each awarded $5,000 cash prizes at the end of the TechCelerator’s 10-week Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs.

Heliome works on technology that can help combat ailments like liver disease, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Biotransitions developed a biofoam wound-care product.

The fall cohort of companies vying for funding included Aleo BME and Spherical Acoustics. Aleo BME developed biodegradable functional nerve conduits for peripheral nerve regeneration, and Spherical Acoustics is developing a multi-driver loudspeaker system which can provide a concert hall experience in your own living room.

“Everyone who participated in this cohort over the past 10 weeks did an outstanding job,” said Don McCandless, director of the TechCelerator. “The customer discovery process is just that, a process, and one that is often uncomfortable and frustrating. But, it’s critical in finding the best match between what the customer wants and what the company can offer. Congratulations to our winners, Heliome and Biotransitions.”

Accredited again

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers was awarded full accreditation from the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the national accrediting body for Small Business Development Centers, for the fifth time.

The Pennsylvania SBDC also received supplemental accreditation for its Technology Services. The Pennsylvania SBDC is one of 12 SBDC programs in the country to do it.

“This report is a testament to the skills and expertise of the network’s staff and the impact of their work in helping small businesses grow and prosper,” Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy said in a release. “The report offers solid and strong observations of the team’s findings during their review, commendations on five program components, and several recommendations to help us in continuing to build on our long record of impressive performance.”

The Pennsylvania program also received five commendations for hosting grand openings and ribbon-cutting events for startups, engaging undergraduate and graduate students, development of a comprehensive disaster/continuity checklist for businesses, a close relationship with economic development partner organizations and encouraging program recipients to inform stakeholders of the impact of SBDC.

The accreditation review process is mandated by Congress and failure to achieve accreditation can result in the loss of federal funding.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli