Jill D. Edwards
Senior Research Fellow
Jill Edwards graduated Magna cum Laude in Foreign Languages from Millersville University. She began her career in the banking industry, during which she was a small business lender, headed up a 55-employee community banking group and served as the head of Human Resources, Marketing and Security for a start-up bank.
Ms. Edwards has also had 14 years’ experience in economic development, particularly in entrepreneurial development. She served as the Director of Small Business Incubation Programs for the York County Economic Development Corporation, and, while there, held leadership positions in the Pennsylvania Incubator Association. She has freelanced in economic development, doing grant writing for a variety of regional economic development organizations.
Currently, Edwards is the Executive Director of Ben Franklin Venture Investment Forum, whose mission is to promote entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania by assisting entrepreneurs and early stage investors to encourage investment in young PA companies. Among the services offered are consulting with companies to make them more attractive investment candidates in advance of their seeking private equity and providing training in term sheets, business valuation and related topics to emerging growth companies. Services to investors include helping angels to form and manage angel investment networks and making them aware of financing opportunities with Commonwealth companies. She participates in mid-Atlantic region and national angel and VC fairs and conferences.
Edwards also directs the Innovation Transfer Network, a virtual technology transfer program comprising colleges and universities in the southcentral PA region. She brings her experience and contacts in entrepreneurial development and equity funding to faculty/company connections to provide resources to help commercialization occur. ITN has fostered research collaborations among member institutions, creating a climate of trust and partnership. Among these collaborations is STEM-UP PA, providing support to women in STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, to thrive and develop individually and in their careers/disciplines of choice, both domestically and internationally, mitigating their attrition in the workplace.