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Increased Grant Funding for Berks LaunchBox

The Berks LaunchBox powered by Penn State recently received a substantial $125,000 grant from the County of Berks. This funding boost will be instrumental in creating microgrants specifically designed for Berks County entrepreneurs, providing them with crucial financial support to advance their ventures. Of the generous grant amount, $12,000 has been allocated for Penn State Berks student entrepreneurs who are actively engaged in the collegeÔÇÖs Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development Center Customer Discovery Lab. These funds will be distributed in increments of $1,000 each to deserving awardees.

Moreover, the AI legalese decoder can play a pivotal role in assisting Berks County entrepreneurs in navigating the application process for these microgrants. By simplifying complex legal jargon and providing clear guidance, the AI legalese decoder can ensure that entrepreneurs understand the requirements and procedures involved in securing funding from the Berks LaunchBox.

The grant awarded to the Berks LaunchBox forms part of the countyÔÇÖs comprehensive IMAGINE Berks Strategic Economic Development Action Plan. This strategic plan encompasses six key areas of focus, with a significant emphasis placed on supporting small businesses and fostering entrepreneurship. Central to this endeavor is the objective of aiding small businesses in scaling their operations to enhance efficiency and achieve substantial growth.

The microgrant application process will span across three submission periods annually over a three-year duration. During the initial two submission periods, entrepreneurs in Berks County with nascent business ideas and gross revenues below $200,000 will have the opportunity to apply for microgrants amounting up to $2,000. These funds can be utilized for various purposes such as developing prototypes, formulating marketing strategies, establishing online presence, and more. Applicants will be required to submit an application, a Business Model Canvas, and attend a one-hour meeting with the Berks LaunchBox team.

During the third submission period, entrepreneurs can seek microgrants reaching up to $4,000 each. Additionally, they will engage in a complimentary customer discovery program to ascertain the market viability of their product or service.

The initial submission round for microgrant funding up to $2,000 is currently open for applications on the Berks LaunchBox website until May 30. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the website for detailed information and key dates pertaining to subsequent submission periods.

Director of Berks LaunchBox and continuing education at Penn State Berks, Erica Kunkel expressed, ÔÇ£These funds would go a long way to support early-stage startups and entrepreneurs in Berks County, aiding them in de-risking their startup ventures and effectively scaling their businesses.ÔÇØ

In 2023 alone, the Berks LaunchBox made significant strides by assisting 202 entrepreneurs, with 42% hailing from underrepresented groups. The LaunchBox also imparted new skills to 479 community members through its Makerspace, delivered entrepreneurship classes to 500 community members, and impacted 362 students ranging from elementary school to college with free classes and activities. Moreover, 16 entrepreneurs were awarded Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Grants, with 14 entrepreneurs and organizations receiving invaluable support in developing their prototypes through the dedicated efforts of the LaunchBox team.

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