PennTAP Assists Student Entrepreneur with Product Promotion and Funding

The Need

A Penn State student entrepreneur and company founder wanted to produce a better prototype device to demonstrate her speech assistance technology. The student was also in need of financial support and mentoring regarding company start-up activities.

The PennTAP Connection

Mary Elizabeth McCulloch was referred to PennTAP’s Innovation Team by a PennTAP employee who had heard, during a monthly staff presentation, about our College of Engineering partnership and resources. The client was contacted, and a plan began for immediate participation in some campus competitions and involvement with business start-up resources.

The Project

To start, PennTAP’s Innovation Team Lead got Project Vive involved in a small campus-pitch competition. The company was also introduced to the Penn State Small Business Development Center that works with student entrepreneurs through various assistance programs. This led to additional exposure to community entrepreneurial events and mentors. PennTAP also brought in the Integrated Design Solutions (IDS) group to scope a project with Project Vive, helping to design and build a circuit board that would allow miniaturization of the device and for it to operate via Bluetooth wireless technology. PennTAP also encouraged and mentored Project Vive via their Pennsylvania DCED–funded Inc.U pitch competition for funding awards.

The Outcome

  1. Won Lion LaunchPad award
  2. Received Penn State Summer Founders Award of $10,000
  3. Completed redesign of prototype
  4. Won first place in 2015 Inc.U Intercollegiate competition and awarded $17,000 in start-up funding