Student entrepreneurs can win up to $30,000 in the Inc.U Competition

January 26, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The 2021 Inc.U Competition application deadline is Feb. 8. Interested students may apply online. The top six student teams will pitch their startup to a panel of judges in a televised competition for a chance to win up to $30,000 in funding.

Key dates for the 2021 Inc.U Competition are as follows:

  • Undergraduate student entrepreneurs must submit a two-and-a-half minute video about their company to PennTAP by Feb. 8.
  • Top six teams will be announced on Feb. 12.
  • WPSU’s TV show competition, “The Investment,” will be taped April 10.

Joseph Kitonga pitched his startup, Vitable Health, during the 2019 Inc.U Competition when he was a Penn State computer engineering student. He won second place and $10,000 to build out his on-demand health care coverage company. Now, Vitable insurance covers thousands of lives, employs a team of six, and recently raised $1.5 million from investors.

“The $10,000 we got was monumental for me,” Kitonga said. “It was able to help us launch and then sustain Vitable for a year. It’s hard to overstate the importance. I think that when most companies are founded, there’s this gap between when they are founded and when they raise seed funding, and Inc.U really was a godsend at that time.”

Inc.U is hosted by the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP). Last year PennTAP and its television partner WPSU pivoted “The Investment” to a completely virtual format due to the pandemic. Tanna Pugh, PennTAP director, said the two organizations are planning to enhance the virtual format for the 2021 competition.

“We’re hoping the virtual format will encourage even more participation from across the Commonwealth Campuses,” Pugh said. “Pitch competitions like Inc.U not only provide students with mentoring, funding resources, and an invaluable learning experience, but they also play a key role in fostering entrepreneurship and contributing to the overall economic development in Pennsylvania.”

“The Investment” television show is the culmination of the Inc.U Competition managed by PennTAP in partnership with Invent Penn State, Penn State Outreach, and the Penn State Commonwealth Campuses. The initiative is funded by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Prizes are made possible with the support of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA, Invent Penn State, the Penn State College of Engineering's Entrepreneurship Program, and the Robert and Tammy Morgan Entrepreneurship Fund.

Visit the WPSU Penn State website to watch the show online.

Last Updated January 28, 2021