UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall, Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank will offer two no-cost accelerator programs that provide the Penn State community and entrepreneurs with resources and guidance to help turn their business ideas into scalable businesses . FastTrack Accelerator is accepting applications now through September 1st. Idea TestLab applications will open on August 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 early-stage entrepreneurs work on, validate and test their initial business ideas. Based on this, the FastTrack Accelerator is suitable for startups that have passed this validation process and are now ready to test the market and take the next steps towards launching the company.
Applications for both the FastTrack Accelerator and the Idea TestLab are open to community entrepreneurs and Penn State students, faculty and staff.
FastTrack Accelerator – Apply by September 1st
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 competition for a chance to win up to $5,000 for their business.
No Penn State affiliation is required to apply. The founders retain all rights to their ideas and there is no cost to participate in the program. The program will run from mid-September to mid-November.
As part of the FastTrack Accelerator, participants also have:
- One-on-one mentoring
- Funding for an intern for one semester through the SEDTAPP ENtern program
- One year subscription to SolidWorks and POWr.io plugins
- Access to over 60 advisors and experts
- 24/7 access to LaunchBox with space in its own team room
“FastTrack Accelerator helps founders avoid common startup mistakes by testing assumptions and building solutions based on real customer feedback,” said Hay. “At the end of the program, teams will have formed a formal business entity, created a unique value proposition, defined a sustainable business model, and created a marketing and sales plan.”
Idea TestLab – Applications open August 29
Idea TestLab is a four-week program designed to help teams assess the viability of their business ideas. Teams will be coached through a proven method of customer discovery and problem analysis to discover the problem their customer has and the value they can provide that others cannot.
The Idea TestLab application window will open on August 29 and close on September 19. No Penn State affiliation is required to apply. The teams will meet as a group once a week for four weeks in October.
As part of the 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,” said Happy Valley LaunchBox Idea Catalyst Ben Nason. “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 discover their problem 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, scalable business and a sustainable plan for growth. No-cost programs and services include co-working space, accelerator programs, legal and intellectual property advice, and expert mentoring from Penn State’s extensive network. LaunchBox is open to everyone—community members and those affiliated with Penn State. The 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 Pennsylvania campus communities across Pennsylvania.