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.