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Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Announces Grants for Three Startups

By Colin McEvoy on April 5, 2019

Penn State Lehigh Valley contributed $36 million to the Pennsylvania economy in the fiscal year 2017, according to a new study.

Penn State Lehigh Valley contributed $36 million to the Pennsylvania economy in the fiscal year 2017, according to a new study.

Lehigh Valley Launchbox, a business accelerator program for early stage entrepreneurs operated by Penn State Lehigh Valley, has announced its latest round of microgrant recipients.

Three startup companies will be receiving grant funds, as well as free legal and patent assistance, mentorship from local entrepreneurs, free professional development opportunities, and free co-working space in Allentown and at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus.

The companies include CeCe J’s Snacks, which produces premium quality fruit and sweet potato snack chips; Navita Health Advocates, professional patient advocates that help you customers navigate the healthcare system; and Nice Cream, a student-driven project to create custom ice cream flavors for local Lehigh Valley school districts

“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 new microgrants came shortly after the announcement that Penn State Lehigh Valley contributed $36 million to the Pennsylvania economy in the fiscal year 2017, and supported, directly and indirectly, 481 Pennsylvania jobs.

That was according to a study released by Penn State last month, which found Penn State overall contributed more than $11.6 billion to the state’s economy and supported more than 105,000 jobs, returning $1.24 in tax payments to the Commonwealth for every $1 in state appropriations it receives.

“Penn State Lehigh Valley is proud to play a critical part in the local economy,” Richardson said. “Our four-year degree programs reflect the needs of Lehigh Valley employers. Over the last five years, our students have obtained 330 internships with local businesses.”

The Lehigh Valley LaunchBox application period for the next round of grants is now open. Interested entrepreneurs and startups can apply online and pitch their businesses to a selection committee biannually in the spring and fall.

Applications are now being accepted through April 30 for spring 2019 grants. There are currently 50 portfolio projects active as part of the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox program, which began in 2015. The grants range in size from $1,000 to $2,500.

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox is a no-cost startup accelerator and co-working space designed to provide early-stage startups with the support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business and a viable plan for growth.

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. The number of projects selected depends on the number of applicants and the amount of funds requested.

The microgrant recipients were selected by the Portfolio Committee of the Advisory Board of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox.

Penn State also assists startups through the Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic, which provides free legal resources to small business owners and entrepreneurs around Pennsylvania.

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