There was a spirit of celebration in downtown State College yesterday. It wasn’t a pep rally – it was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new start-up accelerator named Happy Valley LaunchBox.
It’s a part of the “Invent Penn State” program the university started last year, but it’s not just for students. Here’s how it works – business start-ups pitch their ideas and if approved, they receive up to nine months of free office space, a 10-week business class and professional legal and marketing advice.
Penn State president Eric Barron said the LaunchBox is a chance for entrepreneurs to stay local when they start their businesses.
“I see many students who leave here and go to a place like Silicon Valley and live in a really crummy place and eat ramen noodles. This is an opportunity to come from Penn State, into our community and create your company with the support of a community and to realize that your university and your community are here to help you be successful,” he said.
Five businesses are already working in the space, and Penn State hopes to add up to 30 start-ups per year.