Oscar Rosado
Editor-in-Chief

After a long while, the NEO LaunchNET team is back converging on campus. NEO LaunchNET Staff Associate, Lisa Mackin discussed how the process of coming back was, as well as announcing upcoming events with the NEO LaunchNET team.
Mackin spoke about how everyone was working remotely when the lockdowns came upon the campus back in March of last year. She said everyone was working virtually for about a year since, with different people and at different times.
Everyone converged back in August and have exploded with a ton of activities to do in the upcoming weeks.
“We are trying to pick up our old schedule, we had a whole calendar of things we wanted to do that had naturally had to be shelved,” said Mackin. “What can we still do and be meaningful that still gets our message out, and still connect with the students, and faculty and staff? That’s what we’re focusing on now, and we are trying to get back to our regular events we used to have pre-COVID, and just try to do them in a different way.”

APL donation drive 

One of these upcoming events is the NEO LaunchNET is setting up a week-long donation drive from Oct 25-30 for the friendship APL of Elyria.
They have done this before, with many activities with people being able to interact with the pets, but now due to COVID-19, they are worried about people converging.
“We can’t do that right now because we don’t feel comfortable with pets in the office and everyone converging. Even though we would love to do that, we just can’t right now, so we’re going to do a donation drive.”
Items needed include kitty litter, cat/kitten dry food, dog food (pedigree brand preferred), soft dog treats, gently-used towels, blankets, and toys.
“People can come to donate as they want all week long, and we’ll take it over the APL, that way we can still do something to benefit them, and keep them in mind. As times change hopefully we can have them back on campus, I’m sure people understand,” said Mackin.
The donation drive will be in the last week of October, to tie it with Halloween.
For any donation drop-offs, please bring them to the NEO LaunchNET office located at PC113 during regular business hours from Oct 25-30 or call them at (440) 366-4900 to learn more.

NLN hosts GEW 

According to a press release, NEO LaunchNET will host Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) from Nov 8-12 with a series of events: 
On Nov 8 there will be a Hackathon Kick Off. In partnership with LCCC’s International Initiatives and Student Senate, NEO LaunchNET will host their annual business Hackathon that will focus on the theme, “What the World Needs Now.” This “Shark-Tank Style” business competition will be held virtually. Video submissions are due by Nov 9. It can be done individually, or up to a group of five people. 
Mackin adds, “It’s a broad theme, whatever people can interpret, such as the whole globe or it can mean a person what they think the world needs now, a broad theme that they can interpret as they wish. We are trying to keep it optimistic.”
“All LCCC students, regardless of major, are invited to participate in this event,” said NEO LaunchNET Program Coordinator Matt Poyle. “Students can present a business idea by themselves or as part of a team of up to five people. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges for the opportunity to win gift certificates to LCCC’s Commodore Books & More bookstore. First place will win a $500 gift certificate, second place will earn $250 and third place will be awarded $150.”
On Nov.  9, there will be the Microgrant Award Winners Ceremony where NEO LaunchNET is proud to honor their inaugural class of Microgrant recipients. The announcement of the award winners will be revealed via the NEO LaunchNET newsletter later on.
On Nov.  10 there will be food trucks on Campus. Visit local food trucks Steel Magnolia, Barrio, and Mimi’s Munchery at College Center between 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
On Nov  11 the Hackathon Winners will be announced by the end of the day.
More information about NEO LaunchNET and the Hackathon can be found at www.lccclaunch.com or by contacting our department at (440) 366-4900. To participate in the Hackathon, fill out the information requested on the “Hackathon Competition Sign Up” tab on our website.
According to Mackin, “That is probably the biggest event we have for our office every year,” and added, “In normal years we would have people gather in presentations, and have the judges there. This year it will be submitting a video.”

Microgrants program

NEO LaunchNET is also proud to present a new microgrants program.
This new program offers current and new NEO LaunchNET clients grants ranging from $100-$400 to assist them with their entrepreneurial endeavors. If you are not a current NEO LaunchNET client, register to become one at: www.lccclaunch.com For grant consideration, fill out an application by visiting: www.lccclaunch.com/microgrant For more information, contact NEO LaunchNET Program Coordinator Matt Poyle at: mpoyle@lorainccc.edu.
“What we realized is that all of our clients could use a helping hand, so we are giving out this tiny grant that can help them accomplish something and take them to the next step,” said Mackin. She added those interested have to be clients of NEO LaunchNET or register to be considered. There is a review process where they must submit an application. 
Mackin announced there will be five or six winners for the initial class, and then they will reevaluate and see how many more people are taking advantage of the opportunity and how else they can help others.

Readjusting back

There have been more virtual meetings according to Mackin.
“Usually before we would meet with them but then when we were off-campus we started doing it virtually and found out that it worked a lot better because people are not physically worried about being here, so that’s one major thing.”
There haven’t been a lot of walk-ins there used to be, but Mackin comments how this is the norm now all over campus.
Business for NEO LaunchNET has not adjusted much, but Mackin mentions “If anything we are trying to keep top of mind health precautions and safety and not have people converge, but we are still trying to accomplish things like having our business competitions.”
Mackin assures if anyone does want to contact the NEO LaunchNET that they call ahead of time so that they can give their undivided attention.

Goals

“We’re trying to get back into the groove of all of us being together and being on campus. However this is also going to depend on students feeling comfortable coming back to campus, people wanting to participate in some way in our events,” said Mackin.  
She adds, “We are all adjusting work-wise, home-wise, so it is going to be us offering services and hoping people take advantage of them. A lot of these events we have done for years, so we are trying to get back into it and tweak them a little bit here and there to make them safer and make them more conscious of the times we are living in.”
Regardless of the lower number of students on campus, Mackin assures everyone on behalf of NEO LaunchNET, “We are here.”
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