UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall, 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. FastTrack Accelerator is accepting applications now until Sept. 1. Idea TestLab applications will open on Aug. 29.
“Both FastTrack Accelerator and Idea TestLab help entrepreneurs accelerate and de-risk startups,” said Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox. “Idea TestLab helps entrepreneurs in the beginning stages work through, validate and test their initial business ideas. Building upon this, FastTrack Accelerator is fit for startups that have gone through this validation process and are now ready to test the market and take the next steps towards launching the company.”
Applications for both FastTrack Accelerator and Idea TestLab are open to community entrepreneurs and Penn State students, faculty and staff.
FastTrack Accelerator – Apply by Sept. 1
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-September through mid-November.
As part of the FastTrack Accelerator, participants also have:
- One-on-one mentoring
- Funding for intern for one semester through the SEDTAPP ENtern program
- One-year subscription to SolidWorks and POWr.io plug-ins
- Access to over 60 advisors and experts
- 24/7 access to LaunchBox with space in its team room
“FastTrack Accelerator helps founders avoid common startup mistakes by testing assumptions and building solutions based on real customer feedback,” Hay said. “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.”
Idea TestLab – Applications open Aug. 29
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 Aug. 29 and close on Sept. 19. No Penn State affiliation is required to apply. Teams will meet as a cohort once per week for four weeks in October.
As part of Idea TestLab, participants receive:
- Access to one-on-one mentoring
- A copy of “The Mom Test” and program materials
- Up to $500 for customer discovery
“The only thing you need to apply to the Idea TestLab is an idea,” Happy Valley LaunchBox Idea Catalyst Ben Nason said. “During the program, we’ll help you discover the true value of your idea and connect you with potential customers to further define their needs and uncover their problem that’s worth solving.”
About Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank
Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank provides early-stage startups with the 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.