Success Story

Start building your business with Happy Valley LaunchBox Accelerator programs

Headline: Start building your business with Happy Valley LaunchBox Accelerator Programs 

This spring, Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank will offer two no-cost startup accelerator programs, which provide community and Penn State entrepreneurs with resources and guidance to help turn their business ideas into scalable businesses. Idea TestLab applications will open on January 3. FastTrack Accelerator is accepting applications now until January 6.  

“The Idea TestLab is great for someone with a very early-stage idea who wants to connect with potential customers and learn how their business could provide unique value,” said Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox. “The FastTrack Accelerator is great for startups that have already gone through that validation process and are now ready to build an actionable plan to launch the business.” 

Applications for both Idea TestLab and FastTrack Accelerator are open to community entrepreneurs and Penn State students, faculty and staff. 

Idea TestLab – Applications open January 3 

Idea TestLab is a four-week program designed to help teams evaluate the viability of their business ideas. Teams will be coached through a proven method of customer discovery and problem analysis to find out the problem their customer has and the value they can provide that others cannot. 

The Idea TestLab application window will open on January 3 and close on January 24. No Penn State affiliation is required to apply. Teams will meet as a cohort once per week for four weeks in February. 

As part of Idea TestLab, participants receive: 

  • Access to 1-on-1 mentoring 
  • A copy of “The Mom Test” and program materials 
  • Up to $500 for customer discovery 

During the program, participants will identify current available solutions, understand where they fall short, and define the value the participant can provide that others don’t. 

FastTrack Accelerator – Apply by January 6 

The FastTrack Accelerator is a 10-week program that helps early-stage startups better refine their target market, test the market, and build an actionable plan to acquire customers or expand their business. At the end of the program, participants will compete in a pitch contest for a chance to win up to $5,000 for their business. 

No Penn State affiliation is required to apply. Founders retain all rights to their ideas, and there is no cost to participate in the program. The program will run from mid-January through mid-March. 

As part of the FastTrack Accelerator, participants also have: 

  • 1-on-1 mentoring 
  • Funding for intern for one semester through the SEDTAPP ENtern program 
  • 1-yr subscription to SolidWorks and io plug-ins 
  • Access to 60+ advisors and experts 
  • 24×7 access to LaunchBox with space in its team room 
  • Up to $1,500 to run market tests through the Market Test Fund 

At the completion of the program, teams will have formed a formal business entity, crafted a unique value proposition, defined a viable business model, and created a marketing and sales plan. 

Recent FastTrack Accelerator participants include Basketball Today, Eartrainer, and VertaWorks. 

About Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank 

Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank provides early-stage startups with support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business and a viable plan for growth. No-cost programs and services include coworking space, accelerator programs, legal and intellectual property advice, and expert mentorships from Penn State’s extensive network. LaunchBox is open to everyone – community members and those affiliated with Penn State. Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and one of 21 innovation spaces located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania.