Aspiring entrepreneurs encouraged to compete for seed money

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Credit: Penn State

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — Penn State Schuylkill and its local community partners, SCORE, the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce, SEDCO, PADCO, Schuylkill Vision and the Northeast PA Manufacturers and Employers Association, announce the first Penn State Schuylkill LionLaunch Business Plan Competition for startup seed funding. The competition is open to the public and budding entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply to compete.

Participating teams will create business plans and prepare to launch or grow their businesses by competing for a portion of the $50,000 seed funds awarded to Penn State Schuylkill by 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 the Schuylkill County community. Future plans through the LionLaunch program include offering winners the opportunity to participate in an incubator-style hub with little- or no-cost office space near the campus for up to six months after the competition, which is slated to begin spring 2017.

On Wednesday evenings throughout February, there will be several free workshops offered by Penn State Schuylkill’s LionLaunch program for those interested in participating in the Business Plan Competition.

The first event, an orientation, takes place at 6 p.m. on Feb. 1, where rules, judging criteria, mentor guidelines and application expectations are to be presented. The following Wednesday a speed networking event will provide an opportunity to curious would-be entrepreneurs 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 professionals and glean important information that may be used in preparing a complete business plan.

On Feb. 22 at the final Wednesday event beginning at 6 p.m. there will be a practice pitch session where a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and business and communication experts will comment on each applicants’ prospective pitches to offer suggestions for modifications or improvements.

The LionLaunch initiative wants to provide every opportunity for each applicant to earn funding successfully at the Business Plan Competition. Through the Invent Penn State initiative, Penn State Schuylkill’s LionLaunch program 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 Business Plan Competition. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at Penn State Schuylkill in room 201 of the Health and Wellness Building. The event is free and open to the public.

For sponsorship opportunities or application information, please contact Laura Hoppes, LionLaunch coordinator, at 570-385-6065 or [email protected].