Success Story

Penn State undergraduate student founders invited to compete for $30,000 in Inc.U Competition

Penn State student startup teams from all commonwealth campuses are invited to enter their startup into the Invent Penn State Inc.U Competition for a chance to compete for a $30,000 prize pool. Six undergraduate teams from across the commonwealth will be selected to compete and will also be provided with support leading up to the pitch competition, including access to business mentors, a custom professionally designed marketing video, a chance to meet with past winners to learn from their experiences, and opportunities to showcase their business.

Key competition dates:

  • 30, 2023 – Virtual information session
  • 1, 2024 – Applications open
  • 19, 2024 – Video submissions due
  • 2, 2024 – Finalist teams announced
  • March 16, 2024 – Inc.U pitch competition
  • March 21, 2024 – Winner’s recognition reception

The virtual information session to learn more about what it takes to apply for the Inc.U Competition and the resources available to help students prepare will be held on Nov. 30 at 7 pm. Register here.

“The Inc.U Competition is a springboard for undergraduate student teams ready to take their startup aspirations to the next level,” said Inc.U Competition Coordinator Joanna Sutton, who also serves as the innovation coordinator at the Corner LaunchBox powered by Penn State New Kensington. “Through the competition, participants will gain essential skills in pitching their startups professionally. What’s more, the valuable resources and connections forged in this process will prove instrumental in propelling their ventures to new heights.”

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 is founded by Mary Richardson, a business student at Penn State York.
  • $10,000 was awarded to TDAY Sports, a startup that gives Generation Z sports content catered to their interests and social platform usage. The startup is founded by Justin Leusner, a student in the Smeal College of Business.
  • $2,500 was awarded to BeyondClass, a centralized hub that provides college students easy and fair access to opportunities such as scholarships, networking, and career boosting competitions. The startup is founded by students Stella Cho, College of the Liberal Arts, Daniel Lee, Eberly College of Science and College of Information Sciences and Technology, and Charlie Kim, College of Engineering.
  • $2,500 was awarded to Chirp Alert, an innovative application providing reliable news in challenging African environments. The startup is founded by College of Engineering students Eric Leon, Jamie Kantorczyk and Sonika Kohli.
  • $2,500 People’s Choice Award was won by OfferPilot, which uses the latest technology to prepare college students for landing a job after graduation. Members of OfferPilot include College of Engineering students Yaj Dewan, Omer Kandemir, Stephen Leshko and Omar Rady.

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.