Lehigh Valley LaunchBox announces spring 2019 grant recipients

Pam Kiser
July 30, 2019

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The Portfolio Committee of the Advisory Board of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox (LVLB), a University- and community-sponsored, business-accelerator program for early stage entrepreneurs, awarded microgrants to five new companies in May.

Information on the application period for the 2020 round of grants will be posted on the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox website.

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. Sixty portfolio projects are active as part of LVLB.

“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.”

Spring 2019 awards include:

Christmas City Santa, LLC, a company based on a real bearded, realistic Santa character.

Local Food Market LV, LLC, a local food hub providing online ordering and delivery of food from local farms and small businesses.

The PhoneKings, Inc., an online seller of phone accessories.

The Soleman, a reseller of highly sought-after sneakers and clothing.

TroubleMaker, LLC, the creator of the "ZYX Sticks" product line. ZYX Sticks are a wooden building toy that promotes gender inclusivity and collaboration through exploration and open-ended play.

“We are thrilled to welcome these 5 new projects to our portfolio of 55 companies," said LVLB Advisory Board Chair Chris LaBonge. “We look forward to providing them with the resources they need to succeed, including mentors, and free legal assistance.”

Important characteristics are considered by the selection committee:

  • team commitment
  • connection to local economic development
  • scalable business model
  • technical readiness
  • market awareness
  • existing or potential intellectual property
  • strong potential, but under-resourced

Grant recipients receive additional benefits, such as free co-working space in Allentown and at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus; free legal and patent assistance; mentorship from local entrepreneurs or an advisory board member; free professional development opportunities; and social media exposure.

LVLB is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative created to connect entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training, funding for commercialization, and university-community collaborations to spur future economic development, job creation, and student and career success.

For more information, visit the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox website, email LVLaunchBox@psu.edu or email Pam Kiser at psk123@psu.edu.

  • man with beard smiling in head shot

    Tom Dubreuil from Christmas City Santa, LLC

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • head shot of woman

    Nicole Shelly from Local Food Market LV  

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • head shot of young man

    Solomon Taylor from The PhoneKings 

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • young man in a suit jacket

    Liam Ross, The Soleman

    IMAGE: Liam Ross
  • head shot of woman

    Shannon Varcoe of Troublemaker LLC 

    IMAGE: Shannon Varcoe
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Last Updated July 31, 2019