Ben Franklin News

ParaPer4mance Wins Intercollegiate Entrepreneurial Competition

Penn State’s ParaPer4mance Wins First-Ever Regional
Intercollegiate Entrepreneurial Competition

Inaugural contest at Ben Franklin TechVentures® taps into college rivalries and entrepreneurial spirit.

ParaPer4mance, led by Kennith Keitt of Penn State Lehigh Valley, won an entrepreneurial pitch-off at the inaugural Lehigh Valley Collegiate Business Pitch Summit at Ben Franklin TechVentures® on Thursday evening, April 27. Loop, led by Kira Gobes and Kelsie Strobel of Lehigh University, was the second-place team. Students from Alvernia University, Lafayette College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, and Penn State Lehigh Valley competed in this LVTech organization event.

Participating students presented their ideas and strategic business plans to entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, and other students from the greater Lehigh Valley community. Business plan competitions are a key part of entrepreneurship education, providing students with opportunities to develop and practice pitches. Judges included Michael Rice, Vice President of Marketing at Follett; Peter Lega, Director of Emerging Technology at Merck and Company; and Eric Luftig, Vice President at Victaulic.

“PSULV was excited about having Kenny represent our campus in the LV Pitch Summit. Kenny’s passion and energy in starting ParaPer4mance has infected faculty, staff, and students on our campus who collaborated in helping him develop his business plan,” said Michael Krajsa, Faculty Liaison, Lehigh Valley LaunchBox.

Regional companies also attended and sponsored to support regional entrepreneurship and to help them identify prospective interns and employees. Sponsors presented their companies to the students and audience. Sponsors included Aesculap Biologics, Arkados, EcoTech Marine, Follett, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Olympus PPL, and Victaulic.

“The intercollegiate competition adds even more excitement and competition to the colleges’ entrepreneurial programs,” said Wayne Barz, manager of entrepreneurial services of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP). “The event supports student interest in the Lehigh Valley as an entrepreneurial hub and encourages sharing of ideas among the schools. It also helps employers identify highly qualified students for employment.” BFTP/NEP, owner and manager of the tech-based business incubator Ben Franklin TechVentures, was the venue sponsor of the event.

Competing student companies included:

Alvernia University: A Pet’s Hotel
A Pet’s Hotel will be a kennel-free care center with open spaces for animals to roam and enjoy. The business will be connected with hotel and travel agent reservation planning. At the center, staff will walk, feed, take pets outside, and perform other essential needs. 

Lafayette College: Gel Labs
Gel Labs is a hybrid non-profit research group and for-profit commercial company that aims to replace traditional consumer plastics goods with biodegradable, water-based polymers.  

Lehigh Carbon Community College: Shore Tie
Shore Tie is an invisible tie bar alternative. Its thin product, slides through the loop on the back of a necktie, and attaches to the shirt buttons. With Shore Tie, customers will never have another crooked or stained tie again. 

Lehigh University: Loop
Loop aims to directly overturn the perception that engineering is male-oriented and intimidating, and empower middle school-aged girls to help close the gender gap. It is a smart ring that teaches beginner programming, providing users with a new way to connect with friends and an online community of current female engineers. 

Muhlenberg College: humm!ngbird
humm!ngbird was founded to commence an essential conversation pertaining to mental health awareness. The company aims to provide high-quality accessories such as stickers, bracelets, and hats, and donate part of the profits to organizations relating to mental health. 

Penn State Lehigh Valley: ParaPer4mance is a website exclusively designed for people with disabilities that promotes the latest medical technology and offers fee-based fitness and diet plans. Most importantly, it empowers those who love health and wellness regardless of their situation. 

About LV Tech

LV Tech is an organization for start-ups, entrepreneurs, hackers, and technology enthusiasts in the Lehigh Valley to share and demonstrate what they are working on.

Photo attached, courtesy of Victaulic: Standing: Michael Rice, Follett; Wayne Barz, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA; Penn State Lehigh Valley student Muhammed Skeikh; Eric Luftig, Victaulic; Peter Lega, Merck; seated is the event winner, Penn State-Lehigh Valley student Kennith Keitt.