Entrepreneurs invited to apply for Berks Idea TestLab

Berks Idea Test Lab
Credit: Penn State

WYOMISSING, Pa. — Budding entrepreneurs are invited to apply for the Penn State Berks Idea TestLab, a six-week series of workshops that will provide commercialization training and mentorship, as well as the opportunity to apply for micro-grants, for up to 30 startup teams per year. The deadline for applications is Sept. 23, and applications can be found at sites.psu.edu/ceed.

This opportunity is open to Penn State faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, recent alumni and community members interested in exploring the commercial viability of their idea or innovation.

The Penn State Berks Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) Center is hosting the six-week Idea TestLab and weekly workshops begin on Oct. 9. These “boot camp” style trainings will help entrepreneurs to begin customer discovery, learn about the commercialization process, network with experienced entrepreneurs and determine if a market exists for their innovation.

Participants will learn how to develop a business model, validate their business model through a scientific process, get feedback from faculty experts and other entrepreneurs, and work one-to-one with experienced entrepreneurs who serve as mentors. Participants will also be eligible to apply for a micro-grant of up to $3,000, which can be used to attend industry trade shows, visit potential customers, develop prototypes and cover customer discovery expenses, and they can apply for an I-Corps National Teams $50,000 grant award after completing the program.

Eligible projects must be in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM), and teams should be composed of three individuals: an academic lead who will serve as principal investigator, typically a Penn State faculty or staff member; an entrepreneurial lead, typically a student, faculty/staff member, recent alumnus or community member; and a business mentor who will provide experienced perspectives to the team. Business mentors may be assigned if necessary. Teams must commit to attending the required workshops and cohort meetings and must perform a minimum of 30 customer interviews by the end of the program.

For more information or to apply, visit sites.psu.edu/ceed.

About the Idea TestLab

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Invent Penn State Innovation Corps site status and $500,000 in September 2017 to support entrepreneurship training and micro-grants for university-related startups. The Idea TestLab is a joint initiative funded through the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps and Invent Penn State.