LHU startup challenge 2021

From left: LHU students Ashlyn Black and Daniel Parsley with Dr. Ron Darbeau, LHU provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Lock Haven, Pa. -- Each year, the Pennsylvania State System hosts its Startup Challenge, a competition in which students present innovative business ideas for a prize of up to $10,000.

This year, Lock Haven University's team claimed sixth place in the five-minute pitch presentation category for their Starlight Café project.

The team, consisting of Ashlyn Black and Daniel Parsley, both senior business administration majors mentored by LHU business professor Dr. Gerard Martorell, received a prize of $500.

The Starlight Café would be the first café in Lock Haven to open exclusively at night. An additional idea is to add telescopes in the café for novelty value, as well as an attempt to draw in avid stargazers.

Related reading: Mansfield team takes first prize in State System Startup Challenge

All competitors were encouraged to use their imagination to create their best business ideas. The students defended their projects in a five-minute pitch video and responded to judges’ questions. The team of judges reviewed the submissions and the finalists, as well as all of the competitors, were recognized during a virtual award ceremony.

“It has been an honor from my side to be their tutor in this project,” Martorell said. “I am a firm believer that these experiential learning activities help our students to become learners and ready for the real life. And, besides, it is fun to think that we might have a Starlight Café in town!”


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