Micro Grants Available for Local Business Startups

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Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Center Valley

Note: The following is a news release from Penn State Lehigh Valley.

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox is accepting applications for its second round of micro grants for summer 2016. Interested business startups will participate in a competitive selection process. The application is available online at http://launchbox.lv.psu.edu/apply. The application deadline is June 24, 2016.

Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Center Valley

Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Center Valley

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 amount of funds requested. Thirteen projects are already active as part of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox.

“The first award cycle yielded innovative projects in philanthropy, marketing, internet technology/applications and innovation technology. We look forward to seeing the additional creative ideas that will be submitted,” said Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. “It is a priority for us at Penn State Lehigh Valley to continue advancing and supporting an entrepreneurial spirit in the local community and on our campus.”

The goal of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox is to encourage entrepreneurial thinking and support startups as they develop into scalable businesses. Micro grant recipients benefit from free co-working and meeting spaces at Velocity (532 Hamilton St., Allentown); professional development; consultation and research resources; mentorship from local entrepreneurs; and business planning help from Penn State alumni.

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox awardees are selected from a pool of candidates by a committee of university and community stakeholders. The proposals will be evaluated against the criteria listed below. Grant recipients’ progress will be regularly reviewed by an advisory committee.

The selection committee looks for these characteristics in applicants:

  • Scalable business model
  • Team commitment
  • Technical readiness
  • Market awareness
  • Existing or potential intellectual property
  • Connection to community engagement

All completed applications will be scored in the following categories:

  • Business plan readiness
  • Technical readiness
  • Customer/market analysis
  • Leadership team development
  • Intellectual property readiness
  • Existing funding

The Executive and Awards Committee of the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Advisory Board will meet prior to the July 15 board meeting to review the proposals for the summer award cycle. The top proposals will be invited to present ideas to the board for final selection. The grant recipients will be announced the week of July 18.

“By supporting business startups and helping them win their first customers or early investors, we aim to spur economic development throughout the Lehigh Valley,” said Bill Hacker, chairman of the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox Advisory Board.

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and was created in collaboration with community and university entrepreneurship supporters.

In addition to Penn State Lehigh Valley, the Invent Penn State initiative has provided seed grant funding for five other entrepreneurship center programs in Commonwealth campus communities including Abington, Erie, New Kensington, Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre. LaunchBox programs have also been founded in State College and Abington.

For more information about Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, visit launchbox.lv.psu.edu, email LVLaunchBox@psu.edu or email Faculty Liaison Mike Krajsa at mjk38@psu.edu.

Information about the Invent Penn State initiative is available at invent.psu.edu.

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