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Teen Entrepreneur Challenge to Focus on ‘Solutions for a Post-COVID World’

By Colin McEvoy on May 21, 2021

The 2019 Teen Entrepreneur Challenge at Penn State Lehigh Valley included a field trip to the old Lehigh County Courthouse. (photo courtesy PSU-LV)

Penn State Lehigh Valley and Lehigh Valley LaunchBox will host its 2021 Teen Entrepreneur Challenge virtually this year, with a focus on “Solutions for a Post-COVID World.”

This year’s virtual program will expose students to various issues currently facing the nation, including public health concerns, and teach them how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to create business solutions to address these issues.  

The Teen Entrepreneur Challenge will run from July 6 to July 16, and the registration deadline is June 18. For more information or to register, visit this website, call 610-285-5208, or email [email protected].

“Students that participate in our Teen Entrepreneur Challenge gain a foundational understanding of the business concepts needed to start a business, while also learning about solving real-world problems from business experts,” Lehigh Valley LaunchBox said in a statement.

This will mark the sixth consecutive Teen Entrepreneur Challenge. Though traditionally held as a 10-day residential camp, this will be the second year in a row that it will be held virtually.

The event focuses on educating, training and preparing the next generation of innovators for success. Rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors will learn key strategies for starting a business or business concept, and how to develop an entrepreneurial edge. 

“STEM careers will continue to grow at Victaulic and within the construction industry as innovative technologies continue to increase productivity at all phases of a building project,” said Megan Longenderfer, Manager of Corporate Communications at Victaulic, a sponsor of the event.

“Considering 7 out of 10 of the largest STEM occupations are computer-related, conducting a virtual Teen Entrepreneur Challenge provides relevant experiences incorporating the realities of critical thinking, business entrepreneurship and innovative, problem-solving programming,” Longenderfer said. “Victaulic is committed to collaborating with our educational institutions and our community to promote and grow STEM education within the Lehigh Valley.” 

George Lewis, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Research for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), serves on the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Advisory Board.

Participants in this year’s Teen Entrepreneur Challenge will develop a business profile that addresses issues we will face as a nation in a post-COVID world, according to Lehigh Valley LaunchBox.

They will also experience STEAM educational programming, develop and enhance new technology skills, and explore ideas on sustainability, improving existing processes, and adaptability.

The event will also include featured speakers from local businesses and virtual “field trips,” real-world case studies and problem-solving activities. The program will culminate with a pitch competition including prizes for top pitches.

Robert Wolfe, a Teen Entrepreneur Challenge coach and corporate communication coordinator and economics lecturer at Penn State Lehigh Valley, said he was very impressed with the thought that the students put into their proposals at last year’s event.

“All groups of students gave me the gift of reassurance that every generation has higher ideals and goals than the previous one,” Wolfe said. “I think my children and grandchildren will live in a better world because of the students I worked with during last summer’s challenge.”

Formal online instruction will take place beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Friday from July 6 to July 16 for approximately three hours per day. Additional time will be required outside of “classroom” hours to complete assignments.

The program cost per student is $350. Limited scholarships may be available based on financial need, and the deadline to apply for scholarships is June 4. The program also offers optional dual enrollment to gain transferrable credits at an additional cost.

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