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Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Accepting Applications for Small Business Micro-Grants

By Colin McEvoy on August 16, 2017

A meeting of entrepreneurs participating in Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a program organized by Penn State Lehigh Valley.

Grant recipients from the the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a business accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs, meeting in the Velocity co-working space in Allentown.

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox is now accepting applications from regional entrepreneurs and startups for small business micro-grants.

Applicants are eligible for accelerator awards through a competitive selection process led by a committee of university and community stakeholders at Penn State Lehigh Valley, which runs the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox program.

Applications are being accepted through Oct. 18, and can be found online. Awardees will be announced the week of Nov. 6.

“Our goal through Lehigh Valley LaunchBox is for Penn State Lehigh Valley to help create jobs, stimulate economic development and set students up for career success,” said Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. “We invite local companies to join us on programming for Lehigh Valley LaunchBox to help us achieve these goals, which benefit the region.”

All Lehigh Valley community members, including high school students, and Penn State faculty, staff, and students who have a scalable business idea are encouraged to apply.

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox is a business accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs that propels business concepts into startup companies and advances them to win their first customers or early investors. More than 30 portfolio projects are already active as part of the program.

Among the existing projects are Crowdplsr, which uses crowdfunding to attract concerts and events; Eternally Art, which creates custom-designed funeral urns; GreekPillar, a web application that helps college fraternities organize the recruitment process; and HAIRiette, a Natural haircare line for women.

Grant recipients benefit from free co-working and meeting space at the Velocity co-working space in downtown Allentown, as well as professional development, consultation and research resources, mentorships from local entrepreneurs, business planning, and Penn State alumni and legal services.

“The Lehigh Valley is fortunate to have a plethora of business accelerator opportunities,” said Chris LaBonge, chairman of the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Advisory Board. “But LaunchBox is the only program that includes the support and resources of the entire Penn State community.”

Candidates for the small business micro-grants are evaluated on a number of criteria including a scalable business model, team commitment, technical readiness, market awareness, existing or potential intellectual property, existing funding, and connection to community engagement.

The Lehigh Valley LaunchBox awards committee selects the top proposals for consideration and invites individuals and teams to present their ideas in person or via Skype for final selection, according to Penn State Lehigh Valley.

Lehigh Valley Launchbox is a program of Invent Penn State, an initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success through academic programs, training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and university-community collaborations.

For more information about Lehigh Valley Launchbox, visit its website, email [email protected] or email Valerie Peters at [email protected].

Penn State Lehigh Valley offers nine bachelor’s programs, which can be completed at the campus, as well as access to 160 academic programs offered by Penn State University. Additionally, the campus’ Continuing Education and Outreach programs offer opportunities for professional development, business training, and youth programming.

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