Shenango LaunchBox, Penn State Clinic Help Power Cycling Studio

By Katie DeFiore

SHARON, Pa. – As a former professional triathlete and a current professional endurance coach, Amy Javens is always looking for the next challenge to conquer. 

After she retired from competing in triathlons in 2018, she started looking for a new goal to pursue and decided to open a cycling fitness studio in her hometown of Sharon. Over the past six years, she has developed a solid customer base, culture and staff at CycleLife Studio. 

“Athletic training and the mental training you need to do when you run a small business are so similar,” said Javens, who was recently named head coach for Penn State Shenango’s new cross-country team. “How important goal setting and confidence is, visualization, self-talk, energy management, chunking things down – all those things I learned from being a professional athlete, I’ve been able to use as a business owner.” 

Recently, Javens has been making some updates to her business. In addition to converting it from a partnership to a sole ownership model, she is also looking to expand the services CycleLife Studio offers and move to a new location in downtown Sharon. 

Javens said to make these changes, she has been working with Shenango LaunchBox powered by the Greater Sharon Community and the Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic. 

She said the EAC assisted her with legal tasks, such as completing the asset purchase process and associated purchase agreement paperwork, updating details pertaining to the LLC and reviewing customer waivers. 

“As a small business, legal fees can be very expensive, and we like to protect our cash flow,” Javens said. “So the free legal resources provided by the EAC was really a godsend for me.”  

Javens added that Shenango LaunchBox has acted as a home base for her and her business. 

Tom Roberts, project coordinator at Shenango LaunchBox, and the Shenango LaunchBox team provide Javens with holistic business support and community resource connections. He is also helping her search for a new location and discover what kinds of grant and loan opportunities exist. 

“I can’t imagine anyone else who could be able to offer that to me – to look at things holistically, go through the whole process with me, and help me make some of those decisions based on the needs I have for the business,” Javens said. 

Roberts connected Javens to additional ecosystem supports, including the Gannon University Small Business Development Center for help revising and tightening up her business plan, as well as the free Customer Discovery 101 curriculum offered through the Invent Penn State LaunchBox & Innovation Network to help inform her evolving business model. 

“Amy does the hard things with grace and grit, applies her experience as a professional athlete to her business, and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and admit when it’s hard,” Roberts said. “She keeps going, grinds it out, knowing she’s helping to transform the lives of her clients and community. She leads by example with confidence and humility.” 

Javens said she is probably about halfway through the business pivoting process, but she is fully committed and excited to continue working with Shenango LaunchBox and the EAC. 

“If you plan on being an entrepreneur, definitely surround yourself with as many knowledgeable people in entrepreneurship as possible,” Javens said. “It is virtually impossible to navigate all these things by yourself. It’s important to have someone in your corner to advise you and show you how to chunk things down. Having someone like Tom there to help pace me has been really helpful.”

About the Penn State Law Clinics 

Penn State Law offers two cost-free legal clinics to Pennsylvania entrepreneurs – the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic and the Intellectual Property Clinic (IPC) – both of which are staffed by law students who work under the supervision of full-time lawyers. The IPC provides IP services related to patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights. The EAC offers counseling, document drafting and entity formation assistance to startups and small businesses that otherwise would be unable to afford traditional legal assistance.  

Although physically located at the Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank in downtown State College, the EAC serves all of Pennsylvania through videoconferencing.   

Potential clients who are interested in obtaining services from the EAC should submit an intake form.   

This program is supported by Invent Penn State, a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. 

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.

About Shenango LaunchBox

Shenango LaunchBox provides early-stage startups with support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business and a viable plan for growth. No-cost programs and services include co-working space, 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 is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and one of 21 innovation hubs located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania. Learn more HERE.  

CREDIT: Penn State Shenango.

Pictured at top: CycleLife Studio is a cycling fitness studio located in Sharon, Pa. (Provided by Amy Javens)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.