Back

Lehigh University’s Venture Fair Showcases Student Entrepreneurs

By Colin McEvoy on July 2, 2018

Lehigh University students displaying their products and concepts at the 2017 Technical Entrepreneurship Venture Fair.

Lehigh University students displaying their products and concepts at the 2017 Technical Entrepreneurship Venture Fair.

A startup seeking to “democratize the Internet” and help small pet businesses compete against dominating corporations online was the big winner at this year’s Lehigh University Technical Entrepreneurship Venture Fair.

The fair, which is the culmination of Lehigh University’s one-year Technical Entrepreneurship (TE) master’s program, which helps student entrepreneurs create, refine, and commercialize intellectual property through the licensing or launching of a new business.

Sixteen potential businesses created by 15 students in the program were on display at the Venture Fair, which was held June 26 at the Wilber Powerhouse on the Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem.

“This is our second year holding the Venture Fair and I think it went extremely well,” said Marsha Timmerman, a professor of practice with the TE program and the organizer of this year’s fair. “A lot of great company ideas were on display, and the students have clearly gotten a lot of value out of the program.”

Two prizes were awarded during the event. The Chewsy Pet, a startup proposal by Marlena Sarunac which seeks to crowdsource the marketing budgets of small pet companies into a single united platform, was named the first place winner among the 16 presentations.

Second place went to Coclaire Industries, a proposed startup by Isaac Wellish, which seeks to help industrial companies prevent occupational hearing loss for their employees via a device that warns when decibel levels exceed a critical level and require hearing protection.

Honorable mentions went to Skate Easy LLC, by Deric Winston, a company seeking new innovations in skateboarding; and GoJoLax, by Julianne D’Orazio and Jonathan Mele, which proposes developing lacrosse products to help athletes excel on the field.

One student, Correll French, was involved in two different projects presented at the Venture Fair. They include CorrellTech, which provides aerial photography using drones, and Rock Armor Cases (proposed along with fellow student Chris Massey), which crates protective cases and accessories for guitars that can be used while the guitar is in use.

The participating students began the TE program in July 2017, progressing through 30 credits over the course of the year, Timmerman said.

The curriculum includes one-third skill-building, one-third entrepreneurial theory and product development, and one-third development of their own products and companies.

Students in the program learn by experiencing the idea-to-venture process in an educational environment that’s hard-wired to support the development of novel, innovative, and commercially viable technologies.

In addition to the masters program, Lehigh is seeking to start a 14-credit TE certificate program for people interested in the courses, but who are unable to make the time commitment for the full-year program, Timmerman said.

The judges for this year’s Venture Fair included Jordan Inacio, Lehigh University TE graduate teaching assistance; Keith Marin, Partner and Director of Operations at Red Giant Growth Advisors; Steve Melick, Executive Director of La Salle Center for Entrepreneurship; Stephanie Olexa, President of Lead to the Future; and Robert S. Thomson, Regional Manager, Lehigh Valley of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The law firm Lesavoy Butz & Seitz was the presenting sponsor for the Technical Entrepreneurship Venture Fair, and awarded one project a special prize package including an LLC registration, a working agreement document, and one hour of free consulting.

A second prize was a free trademarking application offered by Maenner & Associates. As the first place winner, Sarunac was allowed to choose which prize she wanted, but she instead decided to consult with Wellish so they could jointly decide between the two, Timmerman said.

Easton Main Street Initiative Wins Two Statewide Community Revitalization Awards

The Easton Main Street Initiative has won two statewide awards in recognition of its community revitalization efforts. The Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) bestowed t[...]

Continue to Next Page

Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$43.3 Billion

2020 Gross Domestic Product

Investor Spotlight
City Center Lehigh Valley
Industry Spotlight

10.6% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

Investor Spotlight
Lehigh Valley Health Network
By the Numbers
$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

Investor Spotlight
Air Products
Investor Spotlight
Lehigh Valley Electricians
By the Numbers
$66,865

Median Household Income

Investor Spotlight
PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
676,700

Population

Investor Spotlight
Olympus
By the Numbers
347,612

Labor Force

Industry Spotlight

26.6% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
5,073

Technology Patents

Investor Spotlight
Mack Trucks
Investor Spotlight
UGI
Investor Spotlight
Magestic Realty Co
Investor Spotlight
NFI
Industry Spotlight

14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

Investor Spotlight
Wells Fargo
By the Numbers
$7.1 Billion

Manufacturing Contribution to GDP

Investor Spotlight
Truist
Industry Spotlight

69th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

Investor Spotlight
Key Bank
Industry Spotlight

10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

Investor Spotlight
St. Lukes University Health Network
Industry Spotlight

82,270 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

Investor Spotlight
Workforce Board
By the Numbers
149,000

Population between ages 18 and 34

Investor Spotlight
FirstEnergy