MONT ALTO, Pa. – Entrepreneurial spirits have a chance to shine once again as Penn State Mont Alto hosts its fifth annual LION Tank competition at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 6.
LION Tank is an annual pitch competition hosted by the Mont Alto LaunchBox. This year’s event is scheduled to be held in the campus’ newly renovated auditorium (potential for remote access).
During the competition, contestants will pitch their business plans and field questions from three judges. Following all the presentations, the judges will confer to determine the winners.
Individuals and teams, be they students or members of the local community, interested in competing in this year’s LION Tank must apply by midnight March 13 by going to montalto.psu.edu/launchbox/apply. Applicants will be notified a week later if they are advancing to the “Shark Tank”-like competition.
“The detailed contestant application is designed to push entrepreneurs to critically think through their business plan from start to finish. It’s a great experience for them to go through this process,” said Helen McGarry, director of the Mont Alto LaunchBox.
The top two entrepreneurs will receive prizes of $1,500 and $1,000 respectively, as well as one year’s access to the Mont Alto LaunchBox, where they will have access to additional services to help bring their services or products to the marketplace.
The Mont Alto LaunchBox ― one of 21 innovation hubs at the Commonwealth Campuses ― opened in 2018 and is part of Invent Penn State, a broader Penn State initiative to promote entrepreneurship and innovation across the Commonwealth. The hub provides free educational and technical support for local entrepreneurs and connects them to the resources they need to get started.
The 2021 LION Tank competition, which was held virtually due to COVID-19, featured six finalists. The first-place winner was Jake Grim, Penn State Mont Alto student, for his startup Table Rock Markets, an online retail platform that helps connect farmers to produce purchasers in their area.
Penn State Harrisburg student Carley Furlow won second place with her business Bonded Bows. A violinist and student-athlete, Furlow leveraged her own experiences playing her violin while suffering from hand injuries to develop a device that allows musicians with hand injuries or medical conditions to be able to comfortably grip their bow.
Nicholas Anzalone, a senior at the University Park campus, took home third place with Crash Pad, a specially designed shock-absorbing seat insert for racecar drivers that reduces the risk of spinal injury. Anzalone collaborated on the product with his business partner and grandfather, a veteran racecar driver.
“One thing all LION Tank competitors have in common is a genuine excitement and passion for their idea,” McGarry said, adding that they are hungry for feedback on how to make their businesses succeed.
The public is invited to be part of the audience. While there is no cost to watch, community members are asked to register, which puts them in the running for door prizes.
For more information, go to montalto.psu.edu/launchbox.