PSU Mont Alto’s LaunchBox opens in Chambersburg

MONT ALTO, Pa. — The Penn State Mont Alto LaunchBox is providing free assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs in downtown Chambersburg, Pa.

Funded by a seed grant from the Invent Penn State initiative, the business incubator is at 40 N. Second St.

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 to market.

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. 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, Hagerstown Service Corps of Retired Executives, Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners, and Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program.

Volunteers will also assist applicants who need help in putting together their pitches for the LION Tank micro-grant competition, which will be held on March 16. From the applications received, three to five finalists will be selected to participate in the competition. Finalists will be notified by March 1 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.

The Entrepreneur Workshop Series will include three workshops on Thursday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. in the LaunchBox. Any aspiring entrepreneur who registers can attend. The schedule:

• Feb. 22: “So, you have an idea for a business. Now what?” by Kathyrn Gratton, Chair of the Hagerstown SCORE chapter.

• March 22: “Putting together a business plan,” by business consultant Cheryl Young of the Shippensburg SBDC

• April 26: “Choosing an appropriate business form,” by attorney Tracy Ross of Keller, Keller, & Beck LLC and Ryan A. Stouffer, president of Ryan A. Stouffer CPA, P.C.

For more information, visit montalto.psu.edu/launchbox. For questions about the workshops, contact Debra Collins, director of public relations and marketing, at dlc43@psu.edu or 717-749-6112. Questions about the LaunchBox may be directed to Dr. Francis Achampong, Penn State Mont Alto chancellor, at fka3@psu.edu or 717-749-6061.