Startup Challenge

Accelerator for early-stage business ideas

Build your business idea and craft your elevator pitch in 1 week! Startup Challenge is an action-packed startup intensive for community, students, and professionals with early-stage business ideas. Whether you are an experienced entrepreneur or just starting out, Startup Challenge gives you the structure and support to build a business model and craft a powerful pitch and compete for prizes!

Startup Challenge is brought to you by Abington LaunchBox powered by Penn State, Berks LaunchBox powered by Penn State, Corner LaunchBox, Great Valley LaunchBox powered by Penn State, Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank, Harrisburg LaunchBox powered by Penn State and Invent Penn State.
  • Virtual startup-building intensive for early-stage business ideas
  • Build your business idea and a powerful pitch in a week
  • Win prizes in final elevator pitch competition
  • Participation is by application only. Open to any PA-based individual or team. No affiliation with Penn State is required for application.
Key Dates:
  • Check back spring 2021 for more information on the fall 2021 Startup Challenge virtual program!
All are Welcome
Startup Challenge welcomes participants from all locations, backgrounds and levels of experience. No affiliation with Penn State University is required to apply.

Business ideas must early stage. If you've launched your business, finished your prototype, or completed your business model, you're too far along.
We want your "big idea"
  • The focus of Startup Challenge is scalable ideas -- while this usually means technology, we welcome tangible products and scalable social innovation as well.

Event Schedule (Fall 2020)

  • Friday November 6th, 2020 (recording available to teams who cannot attend Nov 6 program)
    • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm  Program kickoff and overview, introduction of teams and coaches
    • Between Nov 6-13, teams work independently to accomplish required startup milestones, meeting with program coaches on their own time
  • Friday, November 13th, 2020  (attendance mandatory to full virtual program)
    • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm  Finale weekend kickoff, elevator pitch bootcamp
    • 7:00 – 9:00 pm  Elevator pitch coaching and prep
  • Saturday, November 14th, 2020  (attendance mandatory to full virtual program)
    • 8:30 am – 11:30 am  Elevator pitch coaching panel sessions
    • 1 pm – 3 pm Final Pitch Competition
    • 3:30 pm Winning Teams Announced and Awards

Elevator Pitch Competition Prizes

Prizes for the winning pitches include resources and services designed to help take your winning pitch from idea to reality.  Prizes include:

How to Apply

Ready to #GetStarted? 

Sorry – applications are closed for the Fall 2020 program.  Check back in spring 2021 for information on the fall 2021 program!

Program is by application only – limited number of spots available.  Open to any PA-based individual or team with an early stage business idea that is pre-development and pre-launch. No affiliation with Penn State is required for application.

FAQ