HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Penn State Harrisburg is hosting its second Startup Challenge from April 17 to 19 for community and student entrepreneurs. The event is being held at The Candy Factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Startup Challenge is an action-packed weekend-long startup intensive for community members, students, and professionals with early-stage business ideas. 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.
“When you get diverse perspectives and experience in a room together, magic happens,” Hughes added. “One of the objectives of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Penn State Harrisburg is to connect students, faculty and staff to community, in a collaborative effort to stimulate entrepreneurship in the region.”
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.
Prizes for the winning pitches include resources and services designed to take a pitch from an idea to reality such as:
- A guaranteed spot in Penn State Harrisburg’s Idea TestLab cohort, with a chance to win $2500 in seed funding
- Three months free workspace and mentoring from Ben Franklin Technology Partners
- Access to Ben Franklin Technology Partners TechCelerator program classes
- Three months free coworking from The Candy Factory
- One-year free membership to Make717
The three-day event starts Friday evening and concludes Sunday afternoon with a final pitch competition.
Participants may sign up individually or as a teams, and teams will form during the weekend. All attendees must register here. Early bird pricing is $65 per ticket for those who register by April 4. Standard pricing is $80 for those who register after April 4. Tickets are free for college students who complete an additional scholarship application through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Penn State Harrisburg by April 5. 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 harrisburg.psu.edu/invent/startup-challenge.