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Lehigh Valley Launchbox Announces Grants for Five New Startups

By Colin McEvoy on July 25, 2018

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

A ribbon-cutting from the 2016 announcement of the first round of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox microgrants. A new round of five microgrants were recently announced.

Five new startup companies have been awarded microgrants by the Lehigh Valley Launchbox, a business accelerator program for early stage entrepreneurs operated by Penn State Lehigh Valley.

“We continue to be impressed and excited by the unique concepts and products submitted to Lehigh Valley LaunchBox,” said Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. “Our campus and the advisory board remain committed to encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship throughout the Lehigh Valley.”

The Lehigh Valley Launchbox currently has 50 active portfolio projects, including the five new Spring 2018 grant recipients. In addition to the grant funds, the recipients also receive as free co-working space in Allentown and at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus.

They also receive free legal and patent assistance, mentorship from local entrepreneurs or an advisory board member, free professional development opportunities, and a one-year free membership with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

More than 45 portfolio projects had already been active as part of the Lehigh Valley Launchbox. Total grant amounts vary from project to project, and specific numbers were not disclosed.

The new grant recipients include:

Linguistiq LLC: Linguistiq The Language Boutique provides Spanish to English translation, interpretation and language education services to individuals and businesses in both the public and private sectors. Their goal is to eliminate language barriers by making information understandable and accessible in all situations.

Sewing With Jirah: Sewing With Jirah offers individual and group sewing lessons in a judgement-free environment where you are encouraged to ask questions and feel free to make mistakes. You choose your fabric and pattern and leave the final lesson with a completed garment.

LaToya Spence, owner of Sewing With Jirah, one of the recent Lehigh Valley Launchbox microgrant recipients.

Unfyltered Media LLC: Unfyltered Media’s focus is to identify points of friction that hinder the ability of the everyday person to live an effective life, and empower them to listen, think critically and act effectively to change their situation as voters, taxpayers and leaders. Through corporate partnerships and cohort audiences, they will grow capital, create jobs and give back to community initiatives that improve the lives of people through myriad methods.  

VentureScape LLCL: VentureScape and escape.exe brings a fundamental twist to the escape room experience in the Lehigh Valley. Using unique perspectives coupled with computer systems expertise and extensive gaming history, they deliver an unmatched experience and story.

Your Words Your Story LLC: Founded in 2018, this memoir creation company offers a variety of written and audio life-story preservation services. Co-founders Lisa Petrocelli and Maria Canfield believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that the process of preserving a life story should be easy, fun and affordable.

“We are thrilled to welcome these five new projects to our portfolio of 45 companies,” said Chris LaBonge, Lehigh Valley Launchbox Advisory Board Chair . “We look forward to providing them with the resources they need to succeed, including mentors and free legal assistance.”

Entrepreneurs and startups interested in future Lehigh Valley Launchbox microgrants can apply online and pitch their businesses to a selection committee biannually in the spring and fall.

The number of projects selected depends on the number of applicants and the amount of funds requested. All Lehigh Valley community members, including high school students and Penn State faculty, staff, and students with a scalable business idea, are encouraged to apply.

Applications are evaluated based on such criteria as a scalable business model, team commitment, technical readiness, market awareness, existing or potential intellectual property, and connection to community engagement.

Lehigh Valley Launchbox is a signature program of Invent Penn State created to connect entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training, funding for commercialization, and university-community collaborations to spur future economic development, job creation and student/career success.

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