Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs Debuts in Lehigh Valley

By Nicole Radzievich Mertz on July 14, 2020

Lehigh Valley Launchbox will debut a virtual bootcamp for entrepreneurs. (Screenshot/Lehigh Valley LaunchBox.)

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, Penn State Lehigh Valley’s business accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs, will debut next month a virtual bootcamp for startups.

The free, six-week program will include instruction and workshops where participants will learn about critical topics, such as marketing and financial modeling, as they prepare their pitches for competition. There will also be an optional seventh week for participants to practice their pitches.

The bootcamp is open to any Pennsylvania-based entrepreneur, and no affiliation with Penn State is required.

“If you have an idea and want to turn it into a scalable business but aren’t sure how to proceed, the bootcamp can help,” said Annette Durnack, Director of Business Development at Penn State Lehigh Valley LaunchBox. “Early-stage entrepreneurs will learn how to take their ideas and build actionable business plans so they could, ultimately, grow their business.”

The “Fall 2020 Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Virtual StartUp Bootcamp” will be held weekly from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., starting Aug. 26, on the Zoom platform.  Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions but are required to attend four. Applications must be received by Aug. 10. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance in the program by Aug. 17.

The benefits of the bootcamp will extend beyond the six-week program. After the bootcamp ends, the participants will have ongoing access to one-on-one coaching, legal support, a vast network of advisors and free coworking space. They can also participate in future Mastermind programs hosted by the LaunchBox team.

Participants will be encouraged to apply for PSU-LV LaunchBox grants which will be awarded during the “StartUp Lehigh Valley” competition on Nov. 4.

George Lewis, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), serves on the LaunchBox Advisory Board.

Start-up businesses are an essential element of Lehigh Valley’s economy,” Lewis said. “Our region is fortunate to have a great support network for entrepreneurs, through colleges and universities, business incubators and accelerators, co-working spaces and maker spaces that provide the resources needed for bringing new business ideas to life.”

Here is a rundown of the bootcamp topics to be covered:

Week 1:  Wednesday, Aug. 26 – The Business Model Canvas

Week 2:  Tuesday, Sept. 1 – Strategic Positioning and Marketing

Week 3:  Wednesday, Sept. 9 – Supply Chain, Channel Management, and Building Partnerships

Week 4:  Thursday, Sept. 17 – Financial Modeling, Forecasting, and Cash Flow Projections

Week 5:  Wednesday, Sept. 23 – Managing Legal Risks

Week 6:  Tuesday, Sept. 29 – Preparing For A Pitch Competition

Week 7 (Optional):  Individual Practice Pitch Session to be scheduled

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox connects aspiring entrepreneurs with microgrants, coworking space at Velocity in downtown Allentown, legal and intellectual property services, business advice and mentorship. Since it was formed in 2015, Lehigh Valley LaunchBox has awarded 60 grants to aspiring entrepreneurs.

The grants have helped fund projects ranging from a next-generation escape room, escape.exe Escape Room, to the PlantumAI app, which is used to detect, diagnose and education about treatments for plant diseases.

Launchbox was established as part of the Invent Penn State initiative, which aims to spur economic development, job creation and student career success through academic programs, training and incubation, funding for commercialization and other university-community collaborations.

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