Penn State Lehigh Valley holds sixth annual Teen Entrepreneur Challenge

Four members of Team Lave stand side by side

Members of Team Lave met for dinner to celebrate their win and discuss their experiences in the Teen Entrepreneur Challenge. (L-R) DeAndre Bentinck, Rahul Jasapara, Paul Edwards and Jack Wagenheim

Credit: Sarah Wagenheim

CENTER VALLEY, Pa.—Penn State Lehigh Valley LaunchBox hosted its sixth annual Teen Entrepreneur Challenge (TEC) summer program, sponsored by Victaulic and the Bosch Community Fund. TEC ran from July 6-16 and introduced 12 rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to the world of innovation and entrepreneurship, while bolstering their technology skills.

Normally held in-person, this year’s program was presented virtually due to COVID and included classroom instruction, guest speaker presentations, and field trips held via Zoom. Titled “Teen Entrepreneur Challenge: Solutions for a Post-COVID World,” each session was designed to expose participants to national issues including public health concerns, while helping them apply entrepreneurial thinking to create business solutions in response.

At the end of the challenge, the students participated in an online pitch competition where they presented their business solutions to a panel of judges. The winner was Team Lave, a company that created “Lave Kits” for on-the-go sanitation.

The winning team included Paul Edwards, a rising senior at Parkland High School; Rahul Jasapara, a rising sophomore at Parkland High School; Jack Wagenheim, a home schooled rising eighth grader, and DeAndre Bentinck, rising freshman at Lehigh Valley Academy Charter School.  

Also of note, Team Illuminate Learning developed subscription-only educational kits for students with special needs in grades K-2.  Team members were Nephtalie Charles, Sally Ma, Jenica Chateau and Laila Mahdy.  Team Earth's Revival developed a plan to use the contents of recycling bins to create art projects for youth. The team consisted of Mariely Olivares, Caternina Filangeri, Myjah Rodriguez and Caroline Makhoul. 

Both the attendees and their parents praised the program for both the knowledge acquired and the connections made, one of the proud parents sharing, “Team Lave met for dinner tonight and we celebrated their job well done over pizza and garlic knots! We sat for two hours and chatted — about their presentations, their own work, TEC, their summer plans — it was perfect! They all really hit it off!”

One student comment that they liked the interactive speakers and how challenging the program was for all involved.

Judges for the pitch competition included Dina Manoway, Victaulic; Rafael Paredes, Bosch Rexroth; and Jahdiya Semper, South Bronx Charter School.

About Penn State Lehigh Valley: Penn State Lehigh Valley provides a Penn State University education in a small campus setting that integrates individualized teaching, research, and dynamic community outreach. With its convenient location in Center Valley, traditional students and adult learners can choose from many options including 10 bachelor’s programs, which can be completed at the campus, as well as access to 275 majors offered by other Penn State campuses. In addition, students and community members who have a scalable business idea are invited to participate in professional development offered by Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a business accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs. The campus’ diverse Continuing Education and Outreach programs offer opportunities for professional development, business training, and youth programming. For more information, visit