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Penn State Lehigh Valley Entrepreneurship Event to Feature Orange is the New Black Actress

By Colin McEvoy on October 20, 2017

Tanya Wright, a writer, entrepreneur, and actress known for her roles in Orange is the New Black and True Blood, will be featured in the first of a new event series offered by Lehigh Valley Launchbox.

Tanya Wright, a writer, entrepreneur, and actress known for her roles in Orange is the New Black and True Blood, will be featured in the first of a new event series offered by Lehigh Valley Launchbox.

Penn State Lehigh Valley is continuing its efforts to engage and educate entrepreneurs in the region, with a new event series specifically targeting female entrepreneurs, and a survey seeking to understand motivations and obstacles faced when starting a new business.

The Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, Penn State Lehigh Valley’s business accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs, is now offering an educational event series focused on the unique challenges and victories of female entrepreneurs.

The series is called “LaunchBox Ladies: From Passion to Profit,” and the first event will be held Nov. 15, featuring Tanya Wright, an author, entrepreneurs, and actress best known for her roles on the television shows Orange is the New Black and True Blood.

Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley, said the series will allow the campus to focus on a rapidly growing target market.

“To date, female entrepreneurs generated nearly $2 trillion in sales in the U.S., yet they still struggle with access to capital funding sources and equal representation in government,” Richardson said. “Our goal is to provide support to those in our community who share similar challenges, and to provide a platform for those who will share their success and mentorship.”

Additionally, Denise Ogden, professor of marketing at Penn State Lehigh Valley, is currently conducting research about entrepreneurs, offering a survey to understand motivations for starting a business, as well as obstacles faced with business growth.

“Entrepreneurs play a vital role in our economy,” Ogden said. “Entrepreneurship is enticing, but can be very difficult. I’m particularly interested in what motivates people to go into entrepreneurship and barriers faced by entrepreneurs.”

The survey can be found here and takes about eight minutes to fill out. Results are anonymous and can be launched from a mobile phone, computer, or tablet.

The LaunchBox Ladies event will be held at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus on Nov. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Register for free here. Attendance is free, but is limited on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wright will be interviewed by Ashley Russo, president of ASR Media Productions, and host of The PEAK TV and St. Luke’s HealthNow.

In addition to her acting career, Wright is the author of Butterfly Rising and I Found God in My Hair, and founder of the haircare line HAIRiette. She is building a philanthropic distribution line of haircare products, and received a micro-grant from Lehigh Valley LaunchBox earlier this year.

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, females represent 36 percent of businesses in the U.S. and will generate more than half of the 10 million new small business jobs by 2018, yet face loan approval rates 20 percent lower than their male counterparts and have decreased access to elected officials.

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.

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.

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