Summer Founders Program offers student startup teams $10K

January 24, 2019

The 2019 Summer Founders Program will provide Penn State entrepreneurial teams with $10,000 to work on their startup, social good or nonprofit idea full time in State College over the summer. Applications are now open, but close Feb. 15. Click here to apply.

For Penn State students, the Summer Founders Program provides the necessary resources for student entrepreneurs to explore their startup or nonprofit ideas without the risk of going it alone.

A signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, the Summer Founders Program offers resources like mentoring, networking and $10,000 in funding to Penn State teams of entrepreneurs from all campus locations and the World Campus. The program’s funding lets student entrepreneurs focus on their businesses rather than having to work a summer job to pay for school.

The 13-week program also offers participants a year of physical working space in downtown State College at the Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank.

According to Lee Erickson, chief amplifier at the LaunchBox, the program helps propel ideas forward and encourage creative problem solving through three key areas of support: funding, one-on-one mentoring and access to a host of key experts.

“The LaunchBox network enables us to connect our startups with individuals with specific areas of expertise,” Erickson said. “Summer Founders opens doors to opportunities that would otherwise be difficult for young entrepreneurs to access.”

The Summer Founders Program is open to any Penn State undergraduate or graduate student with an entrepreneurial endeavor. Solo founders are eligible, but teams of two or three people are preferred. Every team must have at least one member that is a Penn State student in good standing in order to be eligible. Teams are expected to work full time on their startup, social good or nonprofit idea, attend weekly dinners, and regularly meet with advisers throughout the program.

Program Details:

  • Founders meet regularly with mentors and other entrepreneurs to grow their network and accelerate their startup, social good or nonprofit idea.
  • Founders also meet with other founders, business leaders and mentors over a weekly dinner.
  • Teams have 24/7 access to co-working space, free Wi-Fi, coffee and printing at Happy Valley LaunchBox.
  • Certain teams may be eligible for an additional $3,000 to support customer discovery through the Invent Penn State I-Corps Site program. Visit the Invent Penn State I-Corps website for more information.

Important dates:

  • Applications close Feb. 15 at midnight
  • Finalist interviews conducted Feb. 25-26
  • Teams selected by Feb. 27
  • Kickoff team dinner March 19
  • Startup Showcase Aug. 7


Last Updated January 24, 2019