Sisters discuss experiences as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week

Nicol Varona Cancelmo and Cory Dahlia Varona Corniel

Pictured (left to right) are Nicol Varona Cancelmo and Cory Dahlia Varona Corniel.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Mateo Toro

Penn State Berks alumni Cory Dahlia Varona Corniel and Nicol Varona Cancelmo participated in an entrepreneurship panel discussion titled “Leveraging Entrepreneurial Experience to Maximize Professional Success,” virtual event on Wednesday Nov. 10. The panel featured successful entrepreneurs at various stages of their professional career. A recording is available via YouTube Live and Facebook.

The panel discussion covered unique skills, perspectives and experiences that make entrepreneurs adaptable and well-prepared to impact diverse roles, organizations and careers.

Panelists discussed how to leverage entrepreneurial experience and skills when seeking a new professional opportunity or starting their own business. Attendees learned how to effectively market their entrepreneurial experience and skills to achieve sustainable personal and career success.

Corniel and Cancelmo are entrepreneurs, or “sister-preneurs,” who launched DN Organics, a natural hair care line created to empower women. According to the DN Organics website: “We help women transform their lives by instilling confidence in their natural beauty. Our own curly transition and health concerns inspired us to create clean and affordable hair products. We want you to take control of your health by using natural products and encourage you to spend less time perfecting your hair and more time enjoying life.”

During the process of developing their business, the sisters worked with the Berks LaunchBox, Penn State Berks’ innovation hub located in downtown Reading. There, DN Organics became one of the LaunchBox’s co-working companies, using space in the facility and equipment free-of-charge. They also had an opportunity to work with LaunchBox staff members, attend workshops and events, and print product stickers.

Through the Berks LaunchBox, they received one of five “Grow Your Startup Grants.” The grant helped them to connect with ‘talent partners’ to assist them with taking the next step forward. DN Organics used their grant money to add an online shopping module to their website and for search engine optimization. “Grow Your Startup Grants” are funded by The Marlin and Ginger Miller Educational Endowment for Education, Innovation and Design Thinking made to the Berks LaunchBox.

“The Berks LaunchBox was a great resource. It helped us to find grant opportunities and resources and to identify mentors,” stated Cory. “We met people who were starting companies at coworking events and had an opportunity to give a virtual pitch for our product.”

Most recently, DN Organics received one of three $500 LaunchBox Boost awards through Lehigh Valley LaunchBox’s third annual StartUp Lehigh Valley pitch competition.

About the Berks LaunchBox
The mission of the Berks LaunchBox, located in Suite 105 of the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading, is to support economic development and entrepreneurship. An innovation hub of Penn State Berks, the Berks LaunchBox connects local entrepreneurs to the support, resources, and facilities that they need to build sustainable and scalable businesses with a viable plan for growth. Services include assistance with prototyping, conducting market research, and connecting with advisors. The Berks LaunchBox offers entrepreneurship workshops, co-working space for startups, Meetups focused on business development, a makerspace with 3D printers for prototyping, and special youth programs.

The Berks LaunchBox is supported by Invent Penn State — a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student success, launched by Penn State President Eric J. Barron in 2016. For more information, visit or contact Michelle Hnath, Berks LaunchBox facility coordinator, at [email protected] or 610-914-7595.