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 micro grants to three new companies in January.
Interested entrepreneurs and startups apply online and pitch their businesses to a selection committee biannually in the spring and fall.
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. Fifty portfolio projects are active as part of LVLB.
Applications are now being accepted through April 30 for spring 2019 grants.
“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.”
Fall 2018 awards include:
CeCe J’s Snacks
CeCe J's Snacks produces premium quality fruit and sweet potato snack chips, made from natural ingredients, that are both nutritious and delicious.
Navita Health Advocates, LLC
Navita Health Advocates, LLC, are professional patient advocates that help people navigate today’s complex healthcare system with a focus on their unique needs and concerns.
Nice Cream is a student-driven project to create custom ice cream flavors for local Lehigh Valley school districts. The Nice Cream flavor will represent the school district or school by telling the story of its mission and vision. Students will develop the flavors through participation in food science classes and design thinking processes.
“We are thrilled to welcome these three new projects to our portfolio of 50 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 that are considered by the selection committee include:
- 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.