Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank 

Our 4-week  Idea TestLab helps you get a better handle on what problem your customer really has, where they hang out, and what value you can provide that others can’t.

The Idea TestLab is open to the public, as well as Penn State-affiliated individuals (students, staff, and faculty) with a focus on entrepreneurs starting businesses in Pennsylvania. This includes:

  • 4 weekly 2-hour sessions where all teams learn about customer discovery tips and techniques and receive guidance on how to apply these techniques to their specific idea
  • Access to up to $3000 for customer discovery
  • Optional 1-on-1 mentoring

By the end of the program, you’ll have a clearer idea of the problem/need your customer has, what they are doing now to solve/meet the problem/need, how that's working for them, what motivates them to keep looking for a solution, and how you can provide value to them.   

Key dates:

  • The 2-hour group meetings will be held from 6-8PM on the following dates: Feb 1, 8, 15, 22, and Mar 1
  • Optional 30-minute 1-on-1 mentor meetings can be scheduled during open office hours.

 We look forward to reviewing your application.

Benjamin Nason
Idea Catalyst, Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank

To request a meeting, please complete the questions below. 

Providing this background helps us understand the state of your business, the types of resources that may be best, and makes for a more productive first meeting.

Please note, in this meeting, we cannot provide legal assistance. For legal assistance see the following link:  https://launchbox.psu.edu/advisors/

We're excited to learn about what you're working on.


Benjamin Nason

Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank 

Summer Founders 

The Summer Founders program gives PA startup teams, with at least 1 current Penn State student founder, $15,000 to work on their startup, social good, or non-profit over the summer here in State College, PA.

Teams who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • At least one founding team member must be an active Penn State student in good standing working on a US-based business. Students from any Penn State campus, or World Campus, are eligible to apply.
  • Founders must commit to working full-time on their venture for the duration of the program - May 19th through August 11th. 
  • We prefer teams of 2 or more, but will consider single founders.
  • As  an economic development resource for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our programs are designed to support new and existing PA startups. As  such, PA startups/teams will have a preference over non-PA teams.
  • Please submit only one application. If multiple applications are submitted, only the first will be considered.

Benefits of participation:

In addition to the $15K grant, teams also have access to:

  • up to $3,000 to support customer discovery and travel expenses through Invent Penn State NSF I-Corps Site program.
  • SEDTAPP Entern Program which provides $1500 to place an intern in your startup for 1 semester.
  • mentors and other entrepreneurs to grow your network and accelerate your venture.
  • server credits, SolidWorks, and a 1 year POWr subscription. 
  • the Happy Valley LaunchBox facility and space in one of our team rooms for 1 year, 24x7, with free Wi-Fi, coffee, and printing (once our facility re-opens).
  • weekly meetups with other founders, experienced entrepreneurs and experts to discuss current challenges, share successes, and learn from each other.

Key dates (currently all meetings and events will be held in person at the Penn State Innovation Hub building in State College, PA):

  • Applications close: Feb 13th at 11:59PM
  • Team notified of interview request: Feb 17th
  • Team interviews: Feb 22nd and 23rd
  • Final teams selected and notified: Feb 28th
  • Kickoff team meeting: Mar 2nd, 6:00 - 8:00
  • Weekly Wednesday team meetings: May 18th through Aug 10th  
  • Startup Showcase: Aug 17th


Lee Erickson

Jack White Family Director, Happy Valley LaunchBox, powered by PNC Bank