Allentown Program Gives First Round of Grants to Entrepreneurs

By Colin McEvoy on January 21, 2016

A ribbon-cutting was held for Lehigh Valley LaunchBox at the Velocity business incubator in Allentown.

A ribbon-cutting was held last month for Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, which recently announced its first round of grants for entrepreneurs.

The Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a community-based program supporting entrepreneurs in downtown Allentown, has announced its first round of grants, totaling $50,000 for 13 separate projects.

LaunchBox, which held a ribbon-cutting last month at City Center Lehigh Valley’s co-working space Velocity, is a business accelerator and is a signature program of Invent Penn State provides micro-grants to entrepreneurs who have scalable business ideas, as well as linking them with business leaders, academic partners, and Penn State alumni to provide mentorship.

The program’s first 13 grants, announced this week, were submitted over a four-month process and yielded a diverse mix of Penn State students, faculty, and Lehigh Valley community entrepreneurs, according to Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley.

“We are thrilled and energized by the applications that came in to Lehigh Valley LaunchBox,” Richardson said. “All of this is sparking an entrepreneurial spirit on our campus and motivating additional students and faculty to get involved.”

The grants, which range from $1,000 to $8,000, were awarded to:

  • Auxilium Medical Services, equipment for medical scribes to chart in real time alongside a physician
  • Crowdplsr, an app that uses crowdfunding to attract concerts and events
  • Eternally Art, a philanthropic organization to create personalized, high quality, artistic funeral urns
  • FenzTech, a station for drones (DronePort) to wirelessly charge its batteries
  • Get2Greater, app development that will allow nonprofit organizations to collect, organize, view and share data
  • HatchLabs, software development of a “Virtual Incubator,” especially for higher education entrepreneurship programs
  • Integrate Energy Solutions for Entrepreneurs, materials to continue developing and researching energy solutions in the areas of green energy and LED light application
  • Josh Nichols, recording, producing, advertising and distribution of his music.
  • Kim’s Black Belt Academy, development of a new website for the Tae-Kwon-Do school
  • MindMe, Inc., a mobile application for small business owners to attract new leads, schedule customer visits, and drive customer engagement
  • Paige Lilly, development of a website targeting body building enthusiasts with interactive capabilities to feature personal coaching, nutrition information, and advice
  • TeraDrones, LCC, professional cases for flight equipment and POV cameras
  • Virtual Incubator Network,  software development especially for higher education entrepreneurship programs
  • Voices Renewed, software program to enhance the life story collection method process

Aryaman Khandelwal, a Parkland High School sophomore and leader of the Gets2Greater project, said the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox has provided him with an environment conducive to innovation and progressive thinking, as well as the means to pursue his passion to help people on a global level.

“Having the support from a reputed university like Penn State will enable me to reach a greater number of people to tackle health issues in India and other such places in the future,” Khandelwal said.

The grant recipients were selected by the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Advisory Board, a diverse and dedicated group of local professionals, who will be mentoring awardees and assisting with their projects.

“We are excited to directly support these budding entrepreneurs and to begin creating the ‘Virtual Incubator’ of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, which will help increase our impact and provide key connections for our 13 portfolio companies,” said Bill Hacker, chairman of the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Advisory Board.

The Lehigh Valley LaunchBox program will continue to award micro grants to proposals in future award cycles. All Lehigh Valley community members and Penn State faculty, staff and students who have a scalable business idea are welcome to apply. For more information about the program, visit the website or e-mail Mike Krajsa, faculty liaison.

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox was created as part of the Invent Penn State initiative, which is focused on leveraging Penn State’s research, knowledge, and entrepreneurial spirit to bring to market needed ideas, products, and services.

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