Success Story

Apply for 2024 Inc.U Competition by January 19

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State student startup teams from all Penn State campuses are invited to apply to the 2024 Invent Penn State Inc.U Competition for a chance to compete for a $30,000 prize pool. Applications are open from now until January 19.

Six undergraduate startup teams will be selected to compete and will also be provided with business support designed to help their startups gain traction. This includes access to business mentors, professionally designed marketing videos, and showcase opportunities. The winners will be announced during Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC in March.

Key competition dates:

  • Video Submissions Due: January 19, 2024
  • Finalists Announced: February 2, 2024
  • Live Finalist Presentations: March 16, 2024
  • Recognition Reception: March 21, 2024
  • Students can learn more and apply here.

Last year, five teams won funding in the Inc.U Competition. $15,000 was awarded to Bindr, an all-inclusive dating app that provides a safe online space for bisexual individuals. The startup was founded by Mary Richardson, a business student at Penn State York.

“We made Bindr so that people can have a place to make meaningful connections and a safe community, judgement free,” Richardson said. “Being in the Inc.U Competition has changed my life.”

More recently, Richardson won the Diversity & Inclusion award as part of the 2023 Women in Technology Awards presented by the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania. Bindr has also already hit the top ten spots for online search terms, including the number one spot for “lesbian dating,” and continues to rank highly for “LGBTA dating” and similar search terms.

“We are excited to see what innovative startups student teams from across the commonwealth bring to the table this year,” said Inc.U Competition Coordinator Joanna Sutton, who also serves as the innovation coordinator at the Corner LaunchBox powered by Penn State New Kensington. “The selected teams will not only gain invaluable business pitching experience through Inc.U, but will also forge meaningful connections to a wealth of entrepreneurial resources to serve as a springboard for their idea.”

About the Inc.U Competition

Inc.U is a signature program of Invent Penn State and an annual showcase of student innovation across the commonwealth. Every spring, the Inc.U Competition awards up to $30,000 in funding to the top six student startup teams at the culminating pitch event that takes place during Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC. This funding, coupled with ongoing pitch training and startup support services, enables student entrepreneurs to take the next step in turning their daydream into a reality.

The College of Engineering’s Engineering Entrepreneurship program sponsors the People’s Choice Award.

This project was financed in part by a grant from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.

About Invent Penn State

Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and university/community/industry collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind.  

This project was financed in part by a grant from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.