Invent Penn State introduces Happy Valley LaunchBox

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a part of the Invent Penn State initiative, the University is introducing Happy Valley LaunchBox, a new no-cost business accelerator program with co-working space in downtown State College.

Applications for seats in Happy Valley LaunchBox will open online on Nov. 16 at The deadline for applications has been extended to noon on Friday, Dec. 4.

Entrepreneurial teams — from the community, as well as Penn State faculty, students and staff — with scalable business concepts, are encouraged to apply.

Five LaunchTeams will be selected for the program on Dec. 16.

“Our community needs early-stage business startup programs that provide entrepreneurs tools and training, a deliberate process, to commercialize their ideas,” said Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey, who heads the Invent Penn State initiative. “Our entrepreneurship community designed Happy Valley LaunchBox to serve as a toolbox to help transform those ideas into marketable products and businesses. We’re excited to see how high these folks will rise with the right support.”

LaunchBox will offer an array of no-cost support services to selected teams, including: 

  •  A 10-week business startup training program
  • Co-working space
  • Professional consultation and research resources including the Penn State Law Entrepreneurial Assistance Clinic, Penn State Office of Technology Management Intellectual Property Clinic, Small Business Development Center, the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship consulting solutions program and University Libraries.  
  • One-on-one mentorship from local entrepreneurs and Penn State alumni
  • 24-hour access for members
  • Free wi-fi, video and teleconferencing capability

During the 10-week program, LaunchTeams will commit to three hours per week for class and five hours per week out-of-class time. Classes will be held on evenings and weekends. 

After the 10-week training, LaunchTeams will be eligible to retain their LaunchBox seats for an additional nine months to continue to develop their business concepts. Although Happy Valley LaunchBox does not provide funding, staff will connect teams that might need capital with potential investors when they are ready.

After the Spring 2016 cohort, the program will expand to accept 10 LaunchTeams for each session, including summer and fall 2016. Moving forward, LaunchBox will select three cohorts per year, for an ultimate capacity of 30 business startups per year. 

Located downtown State College in the former Verizon building at 224 S. Allen St., LaunchBox also will serve as a walk-in information desk service for area entrepreneurs during weekday business hours, in order to help them find the resources they need both inside Penn State and in the local community.

LaunchBox was created over many months with the help of numerous community collaborators including New Leaf Initiative, Innoblue, Penn State Law, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Small Business Development Center, Innovation Park at Penn State and Todd Erdley, CEO of Videon. The State College borough, which owns the building, was particularly helpful in extending Penn State a workable lease so that LaunchBox could become a reality.

“We are pleased to see the strengthened collaborative community spirit at Penn State since President Barron announced the Invent Penn State initiative,” said Galen Bernard, executive director for New Leaf. “Our community needs resources like LaunchBox and continued collaboration. We look forward to more startups thriving here and the region becoming a hub for innovation.”

The Invent Penn State initiative has provided seed grant funding for six additional entrepreneurship center programs in Commonwealth Campus communities, including Abington, Behrend, New Kensington, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley and Wilkes Barre.

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Last Updated December 03, 2015