Do you have a great idea for a business but aren’t sure how to get started? Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, powered by Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV), is offering a program that will help answer your questions and develop your ideas. The Idea TestLab is a new six-week business accelerator program for early-stage entrepreneurs who want to explore their scalable idea or address a customer problem for a potential business. The program will be held via Zoom on Tuesday evenings starting March 30, 2021.
“Idea TestLab is a signature Invent Penn State program, and we are excited to bring it to the Lehigh Valley campus for the first time. We are also partnering with the Penn State Brandywine LaunchBox to offer it to entrepreneurs across an even broader region,” Annette Durnack, director of business development for Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, said.
The Idea TestLab believes successful startups begin by spending time with potential customers to figure out exactly what the problem is and how much “pain” they are having. For this reason, Idea TestLab participants will have the opportunity to connect with 40 potential customers, use those conversations to validate the customers’ needs, identify key characteristics and determine where to find their customers. The TestLab will help participants evaluate current solutions and draft a value proposition.
The five classes included in the program will help participants learn how to test the assumptions behind their business ideas. The Idea TestLab sessions will include time spent in breakout rooms where participants will receive 1:1 coaching from experienced business leaders and mentors. There will also be opportunities for participants to meet in-between sessions for follow-up with their mentors.
By the end of the program, participants will have verified their assumptions about the problem they are seeking to solve, and which potential customers are experiencing the problem. Participants will be able to understand what motivates their customers to keep looking for a solution and be able to pinpoint how the participant can provide value with their solution. The TestLab will culminate with one final virtual pitch presentation, in which participants compete for small grants in seed funding.
The Idea TestLab is open to students, faculty, staff, and community members who live in Pennsylvania. No affiliation with Penn State is required. Idea TestLab is free to participants. Participants must be 18 years of age or older to apply. Application deadline is March 3. To apply, visit the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox website.