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LaunchBox helps Santa and other startups

Christmas City Santa is a startup business with real-beard Santas. It is one of five new businesses being helped by LaunchBox. (Photo submitted) –

Five new early stage startup businesses have been accepted into the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox program at Penn State Lehigh Valley, where they will receive micro-grants, business development support and workspace to help them get established.

And one of the recipients might look a bit familiar – Santa Claus. Tom Dubreuil and his natural white beard are pursuing a business, Christmas City Santa LLC, that provides real-beard Santas and other Christmas related services for businesses, organizations and families.

Other microbusinesses receiving assistance include Local Food Market LV, which is a local food hub that provides online ordering and delivery of food from local farms and small businesses.

The PhoneKings Inc., which is an online seller of phone accessories.

The Soleman, which is a reseller of highly sought-after sneakers and clothing.

TroubleMaker LLC, which is the creator of ZYX Sticks, wooden building toys that promote collaboration.

Terry Haddad, business development manager at Penn State Lehigh Valley, said each of the startups received microloans ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 dollars, based on their requests. They will also be able to use space at the Velocity incubator in downtown Allentown and receive services ranging from mentoring to legal support.

“We’re proud to be part of their entrepreneurial process,” Haddad said. “We look forward to helping them access a number of resources that we have through the larger university system.”

The five new businesses bring the LaunchBox program to a total portfolio of 55 companies that it is helping.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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