Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Penn State Schuylkill Announces First LionLaunch Competition

Penn State University Schuylkill Campus along with community partners, SCORE, Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce, SEDCO, PADCO, Schuylkill Vision and Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Council, Inc. announce the first LionLaunch competition for startup seed funding.

The competition is open to the public and budding entrepreneurs are encouraged to compete.

Participating teams will create business plans and prepare to launch or grow their businesses by competing for up to $50,000 seed funds earmarked by university president Dr. Eric Barron through the Invent Penn State initiative. 

Successful entrepreneurs, experts, alumni and community partners will serve as mentors, judges and workshop presenters. The competition is a great place to introduce new ideas and innovations of upcoming entrepreneurs to Schuylkill County. Future plans through the LionLaunch include offering winners the opportunity to participate in an incubator-style hub with little or no cost office space near campus for up to 6 months after the competition, slated for Spring 2017.

Throughout February several workshops will be offered by the Penn State Schuylkill’s LionLaunch program on Wednesday evenings. 

The first event on February 1, 2017 beginning at 6pm is an orientation where rules, judging criteria, mentor guidelines and application expectations will be presented. 

The following Wednesday a Speed Networking event will provide an opportunity to curious would- be business launchers to interview content experts in a fun and fast-paced atmosphere similar to Speed Dating. This format is a unique way to meet other business people and glean important information that can be used in preparing a complete business plan.

By mid-February a fieldtrip to various companies located in the west end of our county is slated. 

Enterprises included will be Sterman Masser Inc., Red Shale Ridge Winery, Bixler’s Retail Meat Market and ScottDee’s Catering. These tours and tastings will provide aspirants with a detailed behind the scenes experience in an often overlooked yet prosperous part of our county.

The last event in February will be a Practice Pitch session where an experienced entrepreneur will comment on applicants’ prospective pitches to offer suggestions for modifications or improvements. The LionLaunch wants to provide every opportunity for each applicant to successfully earn funding at the Seed money competition. As always, Penn State strives to provide support and knowledge to ensure success to local competitors in their current and future endeavors.

The culminating event of the second phase of the LionLaunch initiative is the Seed Fund Competition. It will take place on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 @ the Penn State Schuylkill Campus in the Health and Wellness Building Conference Center at 7pm. The event is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend. 

For sponsorship opportunities or application information please contact the LionLaunch coordinator, Laura Hoppes at 570-385-6065 or leh37@psu.edu.