Entrepreneurship at Cornell recently welcomed the first managing director for Blackstone LaunchPad (BLP) at Cornell, an initiative of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation that provides mentoring, coaching and resources for entrepreneurial students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Felix Litvinsky, a seasoned international technology entrepreneur and a member of various angel investor groups, began the job Jan. 25.
Blackstone LaunchPad offers free, confidential mentorship for individuals and startups at any stage in any industry, as well as access to a global network and other resources. It operates at 17 campuses across the country and in Ireland.
Litvinsky has been speaking in classes, contacting alumni and meeting with students to mentor and spread the word about BLP’s resources.
“What better time is there to start something great than while you’re in college, when success is within close reach as you are surrounded by experts and resources, network and support. When failure of your business is not the end of the world, but just a part of the learning process, you can fail without being a failure,” Litvinsky said. “Part of my job is to help guide students to take risks – to try one, two, three or even seven things until you find one that works.”
Litvinsky built his career launching and leading technology startup companies. He was founder and chief executive officer of Abakama, an international productgs and services company. He also founded and held executive positions at companies such as loT Partners, Minority Venture Partners and Alarity Corp.
Litvinsky’s current office is in Warren Hall, but Blackstone LaunchPad will ultimately live in a new eHub space in Kennedy Hall, which will also be home to Entrepreneurship at Cornell and offer meeting and classroom space for students and faculty.
BLP’s program complements Entrepreneurship at Cornell programming by providing students with opportunities to connect with mentors for business advice, attend networking and educational events and have access to global online resources, applications, software, tools, courses and discussion groups.
“Blackstone LaunchPad will be the first touchstone for anyone who wants to explore entrepreneurship and innovation outside the classroom,” said Zach Shulman, director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell.
“By providing students with access to a broader and deeper network of entrepreneurs, BLP allows students to explore careers related to entrepreneurship whether they’re majoring in sociology or the life sciences or chemistry or business or architecture,” Litvinsky said. “We’ll be collaborating with every program in every college,”
Kathy Hovis is a writer for Entrepreneurship at Cornell.