Campus News

Blackstone LaunchPad to introduce UB students to entrepreneurship careers

By CHRISTINE VIDAL

Published October 29, 2015

“Blackstone’s LaunchPad program … will provide the tools that young entrepreneurs at our premier universities need to succeed and create the next generation of New York businesses. ”
Sen. Chuck Schumer

UB is among five universities across New York State that will take part in the campus entrepreneurship program supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

A three-year, $4.5 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation will establish a partnership between UB and Cornell University, New York University, Syracuse University and University at Albany to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide more than 180,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system.

New York is the eighth Blackstone LaunchPad region, following Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, California and Ireland.

The announcement of the expansion of Blackstone LauchPad to New York, held Oct. 23 at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, was attended by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Blackstone President and Chief Operating Officer Tony James, who delivered remarks. Heads of each of the five universities also delivered messages of support.

“The Blackstone LaunchPad will support a passionate entrepreneurial spirit taking hold at our university and in our city,” said President Satish K. Tripathi. “We have a thriving culture of student entrepreneurship at UB, and UB students from many different disciplines are starting their own promising ventures. We are excited about providing our students with this new resource as they hone their skills and explore new avenues for launching their ideas.”

Blackstone LaunchPad will connect the university campuses, the business community and local entrepreneurs throughout the state to create an environment that nurtures students and provides them with the skills and network necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs. With a physical presence on each university campus and access to the Blackstone LaunchPad’s global technology platform, the program has the potential to generate some 4,000 new ventures and 6,000 new jobs across New York State over the next five years.

“The more we can do to encourage young New Yorkers with an idea to turn that idea into a viable business, the better,” said Schumer. “Blackstone’s LaunchPad program, with this new grant, will provide the tools that young entrepreneurs at our premier universities need to succeed and create the next generation of New York businesses. From its earliest days, New York has been a cauldron of innovation. The LaunchPad program will help tap into that entrepreneurial spirit; it will be a tremendous resource for our students, the participating universities and for our economy.”

“New York’s superb universities have always drawn some of the country’s most driven and talented young people,” added James. “The Blackstone LaunchPad program will provide these students with the tools to build strong enterprises rooted in the state and connected to a global network of entrepreneurs.”

Each regional program established through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is linked, drawing ideas and best practices from across 21 campuses and giving student entrepreneurs in New York access to an international community of more than 500,000 of their peers and expert advisers. Funding for this program is made possible through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, which seeks to support the development of ecosystems for aspiring entrepreneurs creating the high-growth ventures that are known to spark economic growth.

Due to the early success of Blackstone LaunchPad following its implementation in Michigan, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation was recognized by President Obama’s “Startup America” Initiative and pledged to expand the program to five new regions over five years. That pledge was fulfilled by the program’s earlier expansion to California.