Corner LaunchBox and BUILD.org are teaming up to offer educators and opportunity to engage their youth in an interactive project-based learning opportunity to build skills in:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Grit
  • Innovation
  • Problem Solving
  • Self-Management

Students working in teams, alongside an educator sponsor, develop a product, service or campaign to help solve a real-world problem.

How does it work?

Educators are encouraged to work with their teams as either a classroom activity or part of a extracurricular club or organization. The Idea Challenge kicks off with an engaging event at Penn State teaching students about entrepreneurship and how to develop their business idea over the next 10-12 weeks.

Selected teams compete in a pitch competition. The winning team will move on as a Top Ten 10 team in the BUILDFest SWPA competition.


We are here to help sponsors and their team get the most from this experience. Sponsors receive professional development training and 10+ hours of human-centered design curriculum and a digitized learning platform to guide their teams. Innovation coaches from the Invent Penn State innovation hub help teams fine-tune and prepare their business idea.

Educators who participate will be eligible for $125 DonorsChoose giftcard from BUILD.org


All teams selected to present in the final round of the Idea Challenge will have the opportunity for 1:1 mentoring with innovation coaches, Joanna Sutton and Luke Kephart, from our Invent Penn State innovation hub, The Corner, to help fine-tune and prepare for the live pitches.


September 29

Expression of Interest Due

Participation is limited! Submit your expression of interest as soon as possible. Teams will be notified in early October confirming their participation.

October 26

Kickoff Event at Penn State New Kensington (9AM – 1PM)

January 2024

(date and time to be finalized once teams are selected)

Pitch competition at Penn State New Kensington


Judging criteria focus on the quality and impact of the idea, specifically:

  • The team’s idea solves the problem in an innovative way
  • There is a need for this idea in the real world
  • The team’s prototype has a clear explanation how the product, service or campaign works
  • Presentation discusses all steps of the Design Challenge with visuals
  • Clear voice and professional presentation style, all team members participate


There is no entry free to participate.

Students retain all rights to the materials created and ideas presented.

Students warrant that the idea they are presenting is original work and attests they are not in violation of any contract or third-party rights, such as trade secret, copyright, or otherwise confidential information.

The application form includes a release for Penn State to use photographs, videos and materials presented during the Idea Challenge as promotional material.

All presentations must be considered non-propriety. Teams should consider applicability of intellectual property rights, as applicable, when preparing presentation materials.

Contact Us

Joanna Sutton

Innovation Coordinator, Corner LaunchBox

Email: jqs7188@psu.edu