SHARON, Pa. — The City of Sharon and the Shenango LaunchBox powered by the Greater Sharon Community have jointly opened the grant application process for local entrepreneurs and businesses to request resources from the Sharon Economic Development Fund. Letters of intent, the first step in the application process, are accepted on a rolling basis.
Last year, two endowments totaling $4 million were introduced by Penn State and the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, with the support of the Sharon community, to increase economic development in the region. The endowments established the Shenango LaunchBox, as well as the Sharon Economic Development Fund, to support existing and new businesses that operate specifically within Sharon. Startup founders and current business owners can apply for funds to de-risk and accelerate operations.
“With last year’s announcement of the Shenango LaunchBox powered by the Greater Sharon Community and the Economic Development Fund, we’re thrilled that the goal of supporting and facilitating partnerships between businesses and the education industry is coming to fruition,” said Penn State Shenango Campus Director Jo Anne Carrick. “This process is the direct result of the strong partnership between Penn State, the Community Foundation and the City of Sharon for the benefit of the entire region.”
Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio Kyle English also stressed the importance of community partnerships when launching a program such as the Development Fund.
“This collaborative effort represents the best of what can be accomplished when organizations and leaders work together towards a common goal,” English said. “The citizens of Sharon will benefit greatly from the economic vitality that has been created here.”
Bob Fiscus, city manager for Sharon, praised the efforts, including the $2 million from the city's American Rescue Plan funds that provided the 50% match to help create the Shenango LaunchBox and the Sharon Economic Development Fund.
"I believe that both the Shenango LaunchBox and the Sharon Economic Development Fund will prove to be a significant part of the dynamic revitalization of the City of Sharon's downtown business district," Fiscus said. "Not only will this strengthen our current businesses, but it will also help spur city growth and innovation by attracting new businesses for years to come."
The Sharon Economic Development Fund application process was officially announced at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Shenango LaunchBox held on Oct. 18 at its new location on the second floor of the Hope Center for Arts and Technology (HopeCAT) at 115 Anson Way in Sharon.
- Letter of Intent application found on the city’s website.
- Review by the Shenango LaunchBox and Economic Development Fund Committee.
- Selected applicants are notified and asked to submit formal application.
- Applicant gives funding pitch to the Grant Selection Committee.
- The grant decision is communicated to the applicant.
- Grant recipient submits final grant report.
Interested applicants can access the application resources on the City of Sharon’s website.
Visit the Shenango LaunchBox website to learn more and register for email updates.
Shenango LaunchBox powered by the Greater Sharon Community provides early-stage startups with the support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business and a viable plan for growth. No-cost programs and services include accelerator programs, free legal and intellectual property advice, and expert mentorships from Penn State's extensive network. LaunchBox is open to everyone - community members and those affiliated with Penn State. Shenango LaunchBox powered by the Greater Sharon Community is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and one of 21 innovation hubs located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania. This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development. Learn more at launchbox.psu.edu.