Penn State University


University Park, PA


Build to Scale Program

Venture Challenge


Project Name

Proof-of-Concept and Startup Services Initiative


Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match


$1.8 million

$1.8 million

This EDA investment will help scale the successful Penn State Entrepreneurship and Startup Services Initiative, funded, in part, through a prior EDA award. The proposed activity will further grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in rural Central Pennsylvania. During the performance period, Penn State University will restart its successful Proof‐of‐Concept program to reshape the regional ecosystem by: bringing in much needed capital, creating entrepreneurship educational programs, funding commercialization activities for emerging technologies, providing legal services to new ventures (including business formation, contracts, and intellectual property), and matching startups with executive talent.

This project focuses on three crucial no‐cost services that have proven success filling essential resource gaps and de‐risking new ventures in our ecosystem:

  1. Pro bono legal assistance and intellectual property support for startups
  2. A matchmaking and mentorship program pairing early‐stage tech startups with experienced management talent and mentors
  3. Project management for a refreshed Proof‐of‐Concept program to support research commercialization