The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced Oct. 23 a three-year, $4.5 million grant to establish a partnership among Cornell, New York University (NYU), Syracuse University, and the State University of New York campuses at Albany and Buffalo to introduce entrepreneurship as a career option and provide more than 180,000 students, regardless of major, with venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system.
Blackstone LaunchPad, the foundation’s campus entrepreneurship program, will connect the university campuses, the business community and local entrepreneurs 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 over the next five years.
At an announcement event at NYU, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said: “The more we can do to encourage young New Yorkers with an idea to turn that idea into a viable business, the better. 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. … 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,” said Blackstone President and COO Tony 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.”
Regional programs established through the foundation draw ideas and best practices from across 21 campuses and give student entrepreneurs in New York access to an international community of more than 500,000 peers and advisers.
Due to the early success of Blackstone LaunchPad following its implementation in Michigan, the 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.
“Cornell has a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem across many different disciplines. Blackstone LaunchPad will be a critical new addition,” said Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett. “We want to inspire, enable and accelerate our students along the entrepreneurial path, and I cannot wait for Blackstone LaunchPad at Cornell to be up and running.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, NY-23rd Dist., said: “Entrepreneurs will create the jobs and careers of tomorrow, generating new products and services right here at home. It’s only fair to support programs like the Blackstone LaunchPad initiative which support these hard-working men and women while they pursue their dreams and make America a better place.”
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded in 2007 with commitments from the firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing resources and intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship nationwide and globally.