Prospective entrepreneurs invited to apply for Brandywine Idea TestLab

The Brandywine LaunchBox Logo.
Credit: Penn State

Have a great idea for a business but aren’t sure how to get started? Brandywine LaunchBox powered by Penn State, is offering a program that will help answer your questions and develop your ideas.

The Idea TestLab is a seven-week business accelerator program for early-stage entrepreneurs who want to explore their scalable idea or address a customer problem for a potential business. The Idea TestLab is a "customer discovery" deep-dive designed to help you better understand the customer problem you are trying to solve and how to provide value in a differentiated way.

The program will be held via Zoom on Tuesday evenings, 6 to 8 p.m., starting Sept. 14. A private funder is offering full scholarships for all selected participants. Aspiring entrepreneurs are required to attend all class sessions in order to participate in the final pitch session event.

“We are excited to offer this valuable program to entrepreneurs in our region,” said Margaret Bacheler, senior director of statewide continuing education and workforce development for Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses. “The Idea TestLab program is designed to help teams evaluate the viability of their business ideas by coaching them through a proven method of customer discovery and problem analysis. The program will help participants learn how to test the assumptions behind their business ideas.”

The Idea TestLab sessions will include time spent in breakout rooms where participants will receive 1:1 coaching from experienced business leaders and mentors. There will also be opportunities for participants to meet in between sessions for follow-up with their mentors. 

By the end of the program, participants will have verified their assumptions about the problem they are seeking to solve and which potential customers are experiencing the problem. Participants will be able to understand what motivates their customers to keep looking for a solution and be able to pinpoint how the participant can provide value with their solution. The TestLab will culminate with one final virtual pitch presentation, in which participants compete for small grants in seed funding. 

To qualify for the Idea TestLab, your business must be in an early stage, which means you have already conceived of an idea and are ready to seek proof of concept and engage in a customer discovery process. No affiliation with Penn State is required for participation. Applications are welcomed from any Pennsylvania-based entrepreneur.

Applications should be submitted by Aug. 20. More information and a link to the application are available at

Brandywine LaunchBox is a signature program of Invent Penn State, a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success.