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LHU News

LHU student team places 6th in State System Startup Challenge

Startup Challenge Image
Shown from left, are LHU students, Ashlyn Black and Daniel Parsley and Dr. Ron Darbeau, LHU provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education recently held its annual State System Startup Challenge. The challenge is an opportunity for students within the State System to compete for prize money of up to $10,000 for their innovative ideas and to assist in making their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur come true.

This year, Lock Haven University’s team of Ashlyn Black and Daniel Parsley, both senior business administration majors, placed sixth in the 5-minute pitch presentation category for their startup project, Starlight Café. The team, 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 be open only at night. The additional idea is to add telescopes in the café for novelty value, as well as an attempt to draw in avid stargazers.

All competitors were encouraged to use their imagination to create their best business ideas. The students defended their projects in a 5-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 awards 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!”

For more information about the State System Startup Challenge, visit the PASSHE startup challenge page.

For more information on Lock Haven University, visit, email, or call 570-484-2011. 

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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.

LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

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