MONT ALTO, Pa. ― The Mont Alto LaunchBox, a business incubator funded by a seed grant from Penn State’s Invent Penn State initiative, will begin to provide free assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs in downtown Chambersburg in January 2018. The incubator is located at 40 North Second St. in downtown Chambersburg.
Free services and workshops will be available to any aspiring entrepreneur. In addition, Penn State Mont Alto will host an annual micro-grant competition to consider business proposals and hear entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas during a “Shark Tank”-like competition. Up to two entrepreneurs will be selected to receive awards of $1,000 to $1,500. They will also get one year’s access to the Mont Alto LaunchBox facility to work on their business ideas and receive additional services to help bring their products into the marketplace.
To apply for Mont Alto LaunchBox services, attend a workshop, and/or participate in the micro-grant competition, entrepreneurs can register online at montalto.psu.edu/launchbox after Jan. 10, 2018. Applications for assistance will be reviewed by the Mont Alto LaunchBox Advisory Council. All services will be provided by volunteers who are collaborating with the LaunchBox. Some collaborators include the Shippensburg Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Hagerstown Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners, and Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP).
Volunteers will assist applicants who need help in putting together their pitches for the LION Tank micro-grant competition, which will be held on March 16, 2018. From the applications received, three to five finalists will be selected to participate in the competition. Finalists will be notified by March 1, 2018, of their selection so they can finalize their pitches. The competition will be held at the Mont Alto campus and will be presided over by a panel of judges.
Besides the awards, recipients will have access to the Mont Alto LaunchBox facility that includes desk space, a conference room, Wi-Fi, a computer with access to design software, a printer, and a 3D printer. The space also includes a kitchenette and an outdoor patio that can be used for events in the summer months.
During spring 2018, the Entrepreneur Workshop Series will include three workshops from 6 to 7 p.m.on Thursday evenings in the Mont Alto LaunchBox. Any aspiring entrepreneur who registers can attend.
- Feb. 22 ― “So, you have an idea for a business. Now what?” Kathyrn Gratton, Chair, Hagerstown SCORE Chapter
- March 22 ― “Putting together a business plan,” Business Consultant Cheryl Young, Shippensburg SBDC
- April 26 ― “Choosing an appropriate business form,” Attorney at Law Tracy Ross, Keller, Keller, & Beck, LLC and Ryan A. Stouffer, President, Ryan A. Stouffer CPA, P.C.
For more information about the Mont Alto LaunchBox’s services and resources and to access application and registration forms, visit montalto.psu.edu/launchbox. For questions about the workshops, contact Debra Collins, director of public relations and marketing, at [email protected] or 717-749-6112. Questions about the LaunchBox may be directed to Francis Achampong, Penn State Mont Alto chancellor, at [email protected] or 717-749-6061.