• Meghan Harvey

Altoona Launchbox: Supporting Big Ideas


Small businesses are at the heart of the First Frontier area. It’s always exciting when an entrepreneur decides to stay local, as their big ideas contribute to the life of our communities.


Altoona Launchbox Supported by the Hite Family is helping to turn these big ideas into realities. As part of the Penn State Initiative, Altoona Launchbox aims to support economic development by focusing on entrepreneurial success and helping businesses get started, which in turn leads to job creation in our area.


“We’re a multifaceted approach and serve as a resource for people who either have an idea and don’t know where to go, or are looking to launch their business and need some help with the next steps,” says Assistant Director Jessica Lattanza.


The organization offers a co-working space, legal consulting, an expert network, business advice, and special events - all free of charge. These services are available to the general public, students, faculty, and area entrepreneurs.


“It’s great if students start businesses and stay, but it’s also wonderful to focus on our community members who have ideas,” says Jessica. “You do not have to have any affiliation with Penn State to use our services.”


Altoona Launchbox not only welcomes all kinds of people, but also all kinds of ideas. “Some folks are looking at a more traditional business,” Jessica says. “A retail storefront or small restaurant. But we also work with people who have new products in mind. They have a great idea, but they don’t know what to do next.”


What these entrepreneurs have in common, however, is the desire to contribute to their community. “95 percent of the people we see are from right here in Blair County. They’re looking to start a business locally. They’re stimulating our local economy, and that’s really rewarding to see.”


Altoona Launchbox Supported by the Hite Family is excited to announce that they will be moving into the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence in downtown Altoona this coming fall.


“As we move into the Sheetz Center, some of the services are going to expand and change,” says Jessica. “We’re excited to see what exactly that’s going to look like. I think there’s going to be a lot more activity for both community members and students.”


Learn more by visiting https://sites.psu.edu/altoonalaunchbox/.


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