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Penn State-LV expands teen entrepreneur challenge

Teenagers at last summer’s entrepreneurship challenge watch a demonstration at TEK Park in Breinigsville. Students explored various machines and inventions and talked with the professionals who work with the devices. PHOTO/ NOURAN EL-ASHRY

Penn State Lehigh Valley is looking to forge a new generation of entrepreneurs through its Teen Entrepreneurship Summer Challenge.

Penn State Lehigh Valley is looking to forge a new generation of entrepreneurs through its Teen Entrepreneurship Summer Challenge.

During the two-week summer camp, students will learn strategies for starting a business and how to develop an entrepreneurial spirit from Penn State professors, Perkiomen School teachers, business leaders, student entrepreneurs and alumni entrepreneurs from Perkiomen School.

The program gives students the opportunity to develop different perspectives, implement business ideas, connect to future employers, build a personal brand, learn how to apply for Penn State’s LaunchBox microgrants and enhance technology skills.

The program, from June 19-30 at the Perkiomen School in Pennsburg, is open to rising high school juniors and seniors from any school.

Penn State Lehigh Valley hosted the first Teen Entrepreneurship Summer Challenge last summer. New this year is the collaboration with the Perkiomen School.

The Perkiomen School sits on 165 acres 20 minutes from Penn State Lehigh Valley, which is in Center Valley. The Perkiomen School recently opened a new innovation center where Summer Challenge students will be exposed to modern technologies including 3-D virtual reality, additive manufacturing, computer design and rapid prototyping.

Twelve high school students participated at Penn State Lehigh Valley in summer 2016, while Perkiomen ran a similar camp last year on its campus. For 2017, the combined program expects to enroll 30 students.

Lehigh Valley is the only Penn State campus offering an entrepreneurial summer camp for high school students, according to Dennille Schuler, a spokeswoman at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

The cost of the 2017 summer program is $1,950. For another $900, students have the opportunity to earn three college credits, which they can transfer to a college or university.

The pinnacle of last year’s Summer Challenge was a pitch competition at the Lehigh Valley campus, where students presented ideas for a new business in front of judges, including Steven A. Markowitz, president, Allen Organ Co.; Sara Stump of Suburban Testing Labs; Stephen Walker, education entrepreneurship specialist from Lehigh Carbon Community College’s Business Enterprise Center; and Christa Duelberg-Kraftician of Spillman-Farmer Architects.

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