Nine Entrepreneurs Launch PA Wilds PACE Program | Community


Nine small business owners from the Pennsylvania Wilds area are taking a course designed to inspire and grow their businesses.

The program kicked off on April 14 as entrepreneurs, representing nine different businesses from across the PA Wilds, gathered in Williamsport to launch the 2022 PA Wilds PACE program, a five-week professional development course designed to help make scaling up rural businesses.

PACE stands for Plan, Accelerate, Engage and Develop. The program is offered by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. through a partnership with the Covation Center of Williamsport.

All participating businesses are members of the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a regional network of approximately 400 businesses and organizations operated by the PA Wilds Center. Members can participate in the PA Wilds PACE program, valued at $2,500, at no cost with funding from the US Economic Development Administration.

2022 cohort participants include: Lisa Conklin Conn of Conklin Studio Pottery (McKean County), Julie Mader of Artwork by Julie Mader (McKean County), Sue Morris of Sue’s Salves (Clinton County), Stephanie Distler of Stephanie Distler Artisan Jewelry (Elk County), Karen Heltzel of Moments in Time Studio (Warren County), Rachel Courtney of Sugar Mama’s Appalachian Maple (Tioga County), Rhianna Speck of Side Door Soap & Sundry Co. (Lycoming County), Niccole St. Laurent of St. Laurent Pottery (Jefferson County) and Joshua Smith of Valley Glass Art (Elk County).

After the kick-off event, attendees will meet twice a week for another four weeks of programming – meeting remotely via zoom and Mighty Networks for the first three weeks before meeting again the final week for a wrap-up event two-day immersive in Kane in mid-May.

Learn more about the PA Wilds PACE program, program participants and the Wilds Cooperative of PA at


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