PSUMA: Annual LION Tank ™ competition announced

Entrepreneurial spirits have a chance to shine once again as Penn State Mont Alto hosts its fourth annual LION Tank ™ competition next month.

The event takes place virtually this year via Zoom, beginning at 6 p.m. March 25.

“It will be a live event, so the contestants will join a Zoom meeting with the judges and the audience,” said Helen McGarry,interim director of the Mont Alto LaunchBox in Chambersburg, Pa.

READ: LaunchBox Programs Prepare Entrepreneurs for Business Ownership

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During the competition, contestants will pitch their business plans and field questions from the judges. Following all the presentations, the judges will go into a Zoom breakout room to decide whose ideas stand out the most.

Individuals and teams, be they students or members of the local community, interested in competing in this year’s LION Tank ™ must apply by March 5. Applications are available at montalto.psu.edu/launchbox. Applicants will be notified a week later if they are advancing to the “Shark Tank”-like competition.

The top two entrepreneurs will receive prizes of $1,500 and $1,000 respectively; as well as one year’s access to the Mont Alto LaunchBox, where they can tap into additional services to help bring their businesses or products into the marketplace.

Launch Box — One of 21 innovation hubs

The Mont Alto LaunchBox ― one of 21 innovation hubs at the Commonwealth Campuses ―  opened in 2018 as part of Invent Penn State. It is part of a broader Penn State initiative to promote entrepreneurship and innovation across the Commonwealth. The hub provides free educational and technical support for local entrepreneurs; and connects them to the support, resources and facilities they need to get started.

Lending their business expertise as judges are Lindsey Covert, CEO and founder of TEAMology LLC; John Rotz, a retired business development officer for First Community Bank of Mercersburg; and Tom Trgovac, executive VP and general counsel of Global Data Consultants LLC.

Pushing entrepreneurs to critically think through their business plan from start to finish is the goal of the detailed contestant application.

“It’s a great experience for them to go through this process,” McGarry said.

Previous winners

Chad Held won the 2020 LION Tank ™ competition with a an idea for a laptop charging case. His XtraLyfe Laptop Charging Case has up to four times the battery power of a laptop, as well as multiple outlets for charging other devices.

Dwight Neptune took first place in the 2019 competition with BeagleDrones; a modular drone-racing kit that allows users to build and fly in less than a half-hour.

Entrepreneurs who have competed in the past share a trait, McGarry said.

“One thing they have in common is a genuine excitement and passion for their idea,” she said.

They are also hungry for feedback on how to make their businesses succeed.

“I think they like the challenge,” she said.

The public is invited to be part of the audience. There is no cost to watch; but community members are asked to register, which puts them in the running fordoor prizes.

For more information, check out the PSUMA website here or contact Helen McGarry at [email protected].

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