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Venture Lab

The Lackawanna College Venture Lab helps students and members of the community launch new businesses in Northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA). The lab offers professional services, innovative programs, and industry connections within a supportive peer-to-peer learning environment. We specialize in disadvantaged entrepreneurs creating microenterprises by applying a lean startup approach.

Microenterprises are very small-scale businesses that often provide vital sources of supplemental self-employment income for individuals and families.

The lean startup approach is a set of principles, models, and concepts that accelerate new business launches using an iterative feedback learning loop.

Disadvantaged entrepreneurs can leverage this lean approach for microenterprise creation to overcome many of the traditional barriers to starting a business, such as a scarcity of startup capital.

Impact Stories

Machi Systems LLC: Lackawanna College Venture Lab Impact Story
NO U-TURN: Lackawanna College Venture Lab Impact Story
PEP Inspire, Inc.: Lackawanna College Venture Lab Impact Story
Spastello: Lackawanna College Venture Lab Impact Story

Entrepreneurship Courses

Lackawanna College offers the region’s only concentration in Lean Entrepreneurship. This concentration teaches students the lean principles that drive startup success.

Earn your Bachelor of Science in Business with Lackawanna College!

Course Listing

Entrepreneurship for Everyone (MGT 110) Elective – Get a crash course on entrepreneurship designed for non-business majors.

Ideation and Innovation (MGT 265) – Learn how entrepreneurs and industry leaders generate new ideas for products and services.

Iterative Product Design and Development (MGT 270) – Work in the Fabrication Center to build and test prototype products using 3D printers.

Small Business Management (MGT 310) – Learn the ins and outs of managing a small company.

eCommerce: Digital Marketing and Management (BUS 320) – Design and build an eCommerce website or social media page for your startup or a local small business.

Entrepreneurship 1 (MGT 350) – Create a startup business plan while learning entrepreneurial basics and best practices.

Entrepreneurship 2 (MGT 450) – Apply lean startup principles using a business simulation and helping real-world entrepreneurs with their startup challenges.

Business Internship (BUS 400) – Intern with a startup company in the lab to get firsthand exposure to the fast-paced entrepreneurial environment or launch your own.

Contact Us

Venture Lab
Angeli Hall, Board Room
501 Vine St. Scranton
venturelab@lackawanna.edu

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Venture Lab Staff

Michael Jensen
Venture Lab Director

Alicia Burns
Community Manager

Melaina Benscoter
Marketing Manager

Julie Cote
Business Launch Competition Manager

Cynthia Nolte
Microloan, Prototype Grant, & tecBRIDGE Incentive Programs Manager

Fellows

CoriMichele Pietruszkiewicz (Spring 2021)
Jena Hansen (Spring 2020)
Kaylee Griffith (Fall 2020)

“The Venture Lab has helped me focus my intentions into Spastello with knowledgeable guidance and plenty of like-minded entrepreneurs to share ideas with.” – Courtney Costello, Founder of Spastello

Venture Lab Services

Open office for up to 15 users located on the second floor of Angeli Hall with comfy chairs, free Wi-Fi, and a coffee machine!

Four 3D printers (Creality SR-10s Pro V2) and a PC with 3D design software for creating prototype products and plastic components.

Digital platform with planning templates, electronic discussions, video conferencing, and private collaborative virtual workspaces.

Connect with industry experts and seasoned professionals to gain insights and critical know-how for your company.

Our support team provides support for everything a startup needs from bookkeeping to sales.

Training on lean startup topics and networking opportunities for lab members and community entrepreneurs.

The Titan Startup Challenge: Business Launch Competition 2021 is a competition for Lackawanna College Venture Lab microenterprise entrepreneurs. The challenge provides qualified small businesses with a series of microgrants, helping overcome financial challenges in “rounds” as participants plan, launch, and grow their new ventures. Winners at each stage will receive training and support through the Venture Lab’s service offerings and partner organizations.

The application period begins Tuesday, November 2, 2021, and ends at 11:59 pm on Monday, January 10, 2022.

Download Application and Guidelines

Programs

Titan Startup Challenge Business Launch Competition 2021

The Titan Startup Challenge Business Launch Competition helps NEPA startups who are ready to become the next big thing! This competition offers early-stage funding through microgrants in competitive rounds as Venture Lab participants plan, launch, and grow their microenterprises. Winners at each stage will receive training and support through the Venture Lab’s service offerings and partner organizations.

Download Application and Guidelines

Lackawanna College Rally for Restaurants: E-commerce Edition

Lackawanna College has been awarded a $150,000 CARES Technology Assistance Grant to support an initiative that will create e-commerce solutions for struggling Scranton restaurants. This funding will be used to support 36 restaurants in the Lackawanna College Rally for Restaurants: E-commerce Edition presented by the Venture Lab. Participants in the program will be able to:

  • launch websites
  • create online ordering systems
  • receive training on how to use digital media to boost sales

Restaurants who complete the program will receive one year of ongoing and cost-free tech support through the Lackawanna College Venture Lab for marketing, online ordering, social media, and the restaurant’s website.

These funds are awarded to the city through the Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program from the Housing and Urban Development Administration (HUD).

 

How to Participate

Send an email to venturelab@lackawanna.edu with your first and last name, business name and state your interest in the Lackawanna College Rally for Restaurants: E-commerce Edition.

Microloans (Pilot Program)

The Microloan Program helps disadvantaged entrepreneurs launching microenterprises overcome critical early-stage funding gaps through small ($500 to $2,500) zero-interest loans. Microloan applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Training and support for preparing your application is provided by the Venture Lab.

Download the application guidelines (PDF)
Email us for the Microloan Program Application

Restaurant Pop-up Summer Challenge

The Venture Lab, in collaboration with Lackawanna College’s culinary program and student-run restaurant 409 on Adams, helps budding food entrepreneurs test their restaurant startup ideas. Up to four culinary students or community chefs use the 409 on Adams’ commercial kitchen to prepare meals for customers over the summer while receiving training and business planning support from the Venture Lab.

Restaurant Pop-up Summer Challenge Guidelines (PDF)

Applications to participate in the program are accepted until March 15.

Prototype Grants (PILOT PROGRAM)

Our Prototype Grants help disadvantaged entrepreneurs in early-stage startups create initial versions of their products. We provide up to $500 for the parts, materials, and supplies needed to create prototypes. Additional assistance is provided by our Fabrication Center. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Training and support for preparing your application are provided by the Venture Lab.

Download the application guidelines (PDF)

e-Commerce

E-Commerce is a growing industry sector in NEPA. The Venture Lab helps entrepreneurs leverage the power of social media platforms and e-business software to create simple e-commerce websites. Our expertise includes web metrics analysis and search engine optimization (SEO). The lab also consults with other college divisions and programs as they implement creative new e-commerce based services and initiatives.

Lackawanna College Authors

Check out Lackawanna College’s published authors.

Visit Our Authors

The Venture Lab provides members with marketing strategy insights and assistance in creating author websites. We also work with bloggers, influencers, and information product publishers to create digital content.

Get Started!

If you are interested in participating in the Lackawanna College Venture Lab, just send us a message. 

Email the Venture Lab
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