Penn State Harrisburg to host Startup Challenge for entrepreneurs

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Penn State Harrisburg is hosting a Startup Challenge from Oct. 18 to 20 on campus for community and student entrepreneurs. The Startup Challenge is a weekend-long entrepreneurship experience in which participants select and build a business idea in small teams with support from entrepreneurs and industry mentors, culminating in a business pitch competition at the end of the weekend.

Annie Hughes, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said that the Startup Challenge is an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to get connected to other entrepreneurs and resources, giving them the start they are looking for to move their ideas forward.

“The best startup teams are multidisciplinary, requiring creative abilities as much as business, engineering and design,” Hughes added. “This event will capitalize on the broad skill sets and knowledge of our student body and community to enable teams to produce innovative product solutions.”

The goal of the challenge is to bring together a diverse group of entrepreneurs from the community that represents a variety of skills and viewpoints. The event is an action-packed startup intensive for community, students and professionals with early-stage business ideas.

Hughes aded, “Building a business doesn’t stop with the business model – entrepreneurs must know how to present a powerful vision and business case to secure resources and support.”

The Startup Challenge welcomes participants from all locations, backgrounds and levels of experience. No affiliation with Penn State is required to participate. The event is sponsored by the Tech Council of Central Pennsylvania and Invent Penn State.

During the event, teams will dive into developing their business models, receiving support from informative workshops and coaching by local entrepreneurs and industry experts.They will refine their business pitches in preparation for the pitch competition. On Sunday, the public is invited to watch the teams deliver their pitches to a panel of judges. The judges will award the top performing teams and provide valuable feedback to all.

The three-day event starts Friday evening and concludes Sunday afternoon with a final pitch competition. The challenge will take place in the Educational Activities Building, Room 104. The schedule is as follow:

Friday, Oct. 18

  • 5 to 6 p.m. Registration and dinner
  • 6 to 10 p.m. Program kickoff and team work sessions

Saturday, Oct. 19

  • 8 to 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Program workshops and team work sessions. Lunch and dinner will be served.

Sunday, October 20

  • 8 to 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Team work sessions. Lunch will be served.
  • 3 to 5 p.m. Final pitch competition

Participants may sign up individually or in teams, and teams will form during the weekend. Early bird pricing is $65 per ticket for those who register by Sept. 30. Standard pricing is $80 for those who register by Oct. 12. Tickets are free for college students who complete a scholarship application through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Penn State Harrisburg by Oct. 12. The scholarship is open to actively enrolled students of any college or university – no affiliation with Penn State is required.

Additional information is available at