Success Story

Test your startup idea – apply for Idea TestLab at Happy Valley LaunchBox

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Have an idea you want to turn into a business? Applications for the Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank Fall 2023 Idea TestLab are open until midnight, September 18, 2023.

Idea TestLab is a 4-week program that helps participants determine if their startup idea can be turned into a viable business. Those accepted into Idea TestLab will figure out if they’ve identified a problem, or need, that others have too. During the program, participants will identify current solutions, understand where they fall short, and define the value their startup idea provides that others don’t.

Apply for the Idea TestLab by September 18

As part of the program, participants gain access to:

  • 1-on-1 advice from experienced coaches and mentors
  • up to $500 for customer discovery, to understand customers’ situations, needs and pain points
  • The Mom Test book and interview journal provided by the Penn State Bookstore

Noah Wiggins, a 2023 Schreyer Honors College graduate with a degree in Biobehavioral Health from the College of Health and Human Development, founder of Preventi and Fall 2022 Idea TestLab participant, is thankful he began his startup journey by going through the program.

“Idea TestLab gave me the experience to get my foot in the door with understanding more about the startup process,” said Wiggins. “The program drives the importance of customer discovery when you are attempting to make a business from an idea.”

Kevin Harris, founder of WaveBreaker Technologies LLC, is another Fall 2022 Idea TestLab participant.

“Idea TestLab was instrumental in teaching how to effectively engage with customers, enabling us to refine and validate our invention. The valuable techniques we acquired during this program continue to guide us today. They have seen us through eight distinct prototype iterations and have set us on the path to large-scale manufacturing,” Harris said. “The Idea TestLab will forever hold a special place as the inaugural milestone in WaveBreaker Technologies’ remarkable journey.”

Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox, runs the accelerator program.

“A business cannot exist without its customers; they are its very foundation. Idea TestLab is more than just a program, it represents a shift in how entrepreneurs’ de-risk their business,” says Hay. “During the 4-week timeframe, we encourage participants to engage with up to 30 potential customers, emphasizing the significance of understanding and addressing real customer needs. Our approach teaches the need to identify assumptions, and move towards actionable validations, ensuring businesses are built on solutions that address genuine problems.”

Idea TestLab program participants are expected to meet in-person the first four Tuesdays in October from 6 – 8 pm at Happy Valley LaunchBox, located on the 2nd floor of the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub in downtown State College.

This no-cost program contains no prerequisites and is open to all who are ready to see if their idea can be turned into a business.

About Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank

Happy Valley LaunchBox, located on the second floor of the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub in downtown State College, 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 can include coworking space, accelerator programs, legal and intellectual property resources, 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 is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and one of 21 innovation spaces located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania. Learn more.

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