Invent Penn State celebrated the opening of two new LaunchBoxes to support entrepreneurship and innovation across the commonwealth. Penn State Fayette and Penn State Mont Alto are the most recent campuses to open innovation hubs.
On April 3, Penn State President Eric J. Barron and Penn State Mont Alto Chancellor Francis K. Achampong were joined by other Penn State administrators and local community leaders for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Mont Alto LaunchBox ― a business incubator funded by Penn State’s Invent Penn State initiative.
While the Mont Alto LaunchBox officially opened in January 2018, Achampong pointed out that it has already held several activities beginning with an open house in November 2017, workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs in February and March, and most recently, a LION Tank Competition like the popular TV show Shark Tank also held in March. During LION Tank, five entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges. The top two received grants of $1,500 and $1,000 and will have a year’s access to the LaunchBox facility and additional services to help them get their products into the marketplace.
“This ribbon cutting comes on the heels of these strides,” said Achampong. “I am delighted to have you here today to formally cut the ribbon to the Mont Alto LaunchBox and keep it moving full steam ahead.”
Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, in partnership with the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, held a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Fayette LaunchBox, a startup accelerator facility, on April 11.
“We selected Penn State Fayette to receive a $50,000 seed grant based on a unique culture of innovation, commitment to developing entrepreneurship, and potential for future success,” said Barron. “This facility will provide a space to leverage the intellectual capital of our students, faculty and the surrounding community for the betterment of the area.”
The Fayette LaunchBox will serve as a no-cost business accelerator designed to connect early-stage startups with resources and support necessary for growth. The facility will offer regional entrepreneurs and University affiliates access to an event center, collaborative workspaces, classrooms, light manufacturing labs, 3-D printers and other prototyping tools. Additional resources will include a microgrant program, a mentorship program, product development services, legal and business services, pitch competitions, community workshops and a speaker series.