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Free self-guided digital entrepreneurship education program now available

Invent Penn State’s LaunchBox & Innovation Network has launched a free, online, self-guided entrepreneurship education resource available to all.

This digital curriculum, titled Customer Discovery 101, is for people with business ideas looking to get started, as well as those with existing small businesses looking to develop new products or services or to expand into new markets. The program is free and open to the public, with no Penn State affiliation required for use.

The LaunchBox & Innovation Network regularly provides early-stage entrepreneurial support for Pennsylvania entrepreneurs through the statewide network. This resource will enable broader access and reach to founders unable to visit a LaunchBox location due to physical or geographic limitations, or those who prefer to work independently online.

“We created Customer Discovery 101 to provide all Pennsylvania entrepreneurs and current business owners with free, accessible content to support the development and growth of their business,” said Annie Hughes, statewide coordinator of the Invent Penn State LaunchBox & Innovation Network. “The program was especially developed for rural Pennsylvanians, and anyone else who is looking for startup help but is lacking access to resources and help.”

The program consists of four learning modules, each containing short educational videos, readings, and activities, which users can work through at their own pace. The program also directs users to work with a coach of their choosing throughout the program. If the user wants help finding a coach, Invent Penn State can help identify a coach from their local ecosystem.

“All users have to do to get started is click on the program link,” said Hughes. “We encourage anyone even a little interested to go ahead and try it! We can also be contacted at if anyone has any questions at all about the program.”

Customer Discovery 101 is funded by a portion of the federal funding Penn State received for the Industry 4.0 initiative to economically empower central Pennsylvania’s workforce.

“The curriculum guides entrepreneurs through customer discovery, a critical process that helps de-risk the creation of new ventures or products,” Said Brad Zdenek, director of economic development and student programs in the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization. “It asks an entrepreneur to identify and test their core business assumptions, so they can adjust their plan before investing money, effort and time into building a new business or product.”

All Pennsylvania entrepreneurs are encouraged to access and experience the Customer Discovery 101 program by clicking here.

Funding for this programming was made available through congressionally directed spending with support from the PA Congressional Delegation.

About Invent Penn State 

Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and university/community/industry collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind.

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.