ATLANTA, Ga—Blackstone LaunchPad announced that it has expanded access to its entrepreneurship and skill building program to students at Clark Atlanta University Morehouse College and Spelman College. Blackstone LaunchPad will provide students at all three historically Black colleges and universities with the resources, networks and opportunities to support their entrepreneurial endeavors and career ambitions.
Developed with support from the United Negro College Fund Inc. (UNCF), the largest scholarship provider for students of color, Blackstone LaunchPad’s expansion to three HBCUs is the latest step in the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s effort to ensure that entrepreneurship training and skill-building – such as developing business acumen and creative problem solving – are available to a more diverse set of students.
“This is an exciting venture that opens opportunities for our HBCU campuses and their students. We are especially pleased that Blackstone LaunchPad will now be available for students at the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) schools,” said UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “We look forward to continuing our partnership and introducing Blackstone LaunchPad to additional HBCUs across the United States. Advancements like this enable our students to make their talents grow exponentially and open doors they could never have dreamed of even peering through previously.”
“Spelman’s goal is to provide our students with the competitive edge they need to excel in any field,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman College. “Providing access to entrepreneurial insight, training and mentoring through high caliber partnerships, Blackstone LaunchPad is an innovative program our scholars will benefit from for years to come. We are grateful for the investment in our students by Blackstone LaunchPad, which aligns with our new Center for Black Entrepreneurship, and will result in diversifying the pipeline of owners and leaders.”
“Entrepreneurship is singularly transformative in creating equity in society, building wealth within communities and forming professional pathways for innovative and enterprising people of color like Morehouse men,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., president of Morehouse College. “We fully expect our students to leverage the empowering resources provided through our Blackstone LaunchPad partnership to launch ventures propelled by ideas that reimagine the commercial and social status quo.”
George T. French Jr., Ph.D., Clark Atlanta University president, said: “If everyone on the CAU campus can understand and develop an entrepreneurial mindset with design thinking at its core, we could develop an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship that would anticipate and solve institutional problems and challenges more effectively and efficiently.”
For students at these schools, Blackstone LaunchPad will facilitate access to a global network of mentors and advisors, deliver proven startup resources and offer unique virtual and physical convening opportunities. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in pitch competitions, fellowships and live speaker series. With support from partners including Future Founders, UNCF, Startup Grind and Techstars, Blackstone LaunchPad provides support for students of all backgrounds, to graduate ready to succeed in their desired career.
“We are thrilled to be supporting these three schools and their students through Blackstone LaunchPad,” said Amy Stursberg, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “This expansion is an exciting step toward broadening our commitment to fostering greater entrepreneurial skillsets for underrepresented communities to help these students go further, faster.”
This partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $40 million commitment to expand Blackstone LaunchPad to higher-ed institutions that have a majority diverse population or are serving under-resourced communities. The initiative began with a $5 million expansion in January 2021 to bring Blackstone LaunchPad’s network and resources to six additional campuses in the University of Texas system, designated Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), demonstrating a continued commitment to increasing diversity in student entrepreneurship and the development of skills for career mobility in 21st century jobs. Blackstone LaunchPad is currently available to over 900,000 students at 30 schools in the U.S. and Ireland and will increase its program to 75 campuses over the next five years.
About Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has led Blackstone’s philanthropic initiatives since 2007. We are driven by the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and providing access to opportunity in the communities in which we live and work. Blackstone LaunchPad helps college students learn entrepreneurial skills for success to build thriving companies and careers, with an increasing commitment to schools that have a majority diverse student population or engage with underrepresented communities. BX Connects engages Blackstone’s global employee base to partner with non-profits, supporting their missions through volunteer opportunities, fundraising, board service and other charitable activities.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.