Entrepreneurial Education on Campus Gets Boost Grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation Helps Student Entrepreneurs Launch New Businesses By Margaret MacDonald
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has expanded its signature campus entrepreneurship program, Blackstone LaunchPad, into Southern California by awarding a $3.5 million grant collectively to UCLA, UC Irvine, USC and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. Thanks to UCLA’s share of the grant, the Blackstone LaunchPad opened for business during fall quarter in Covel Commons, the hub of student residential life.
Summer Accelerator, an advanced 10-week program that helps launch early-stage tech companies. Not only are these initiatives helping to spur entrepreneurial education on campus, they are giving students a marked competitive edge after graduation. “When you nurture talent and support aspiring entrepreneurs, you foster innovations that can shift paradigms,” said Blackstone Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman. “Through Blackstone LaunchPad, students have access to the right tools to take their ideas to market, and to truly become successful entrepreneurs with their ventures rooted in California, ultimately strengthening the local economy.”
Available to all UCLA undergraduates regardless of major, the Blackstone LaunchPad pairs students with specially trained “venture consultants” who help them develop their business ideas and connect them with experienced entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants, venture capitalists and other experts to assist them in bringing their businesses to market. The program is helping students gain invaluable new skills and potentially embark on start-up careers while still in college. “We are thrilled to be part of this new regional partnership,” said Patricia Turner, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education. “The Blackstone Charitable Foundation grant provides an amazing opportunity for UCLA undergraduates to test their entrepreneurial ideas within the context of an academic environment.” Programs held in Covel The Blackstone LaunchPad is modeled on a successful program developed at the University of Miami in 2008. Now on 15 campuses in six regions, the network gives student entrepreneurs access to a national community of over Student Alex Mathieu presents TheDailyHunt app at a Startup UCLA event Sept. 11. 350,000 of their peers and expert advisers. Photo: Jideofo Okonkwo The Blackstone LaunchPad hosted a full roster of events at Covel in its inaugural quarter, and as word spreads, demand for its services is expected to rise — and quickly. “Our students have tremendous potential with their The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the innovative ideas and just need guidance on how to develop them time of Blackstone’s initial public offering in 2007 with substantial into sustainable businesses,” said Deanna Evans, executive director commitments from the firm’s employees. Influenced by the of Entrepreneurial Programs. “The one-on-one coaching, mentoring enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, the Blackstone and networking opportunities are what make this program so Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the valuable.” intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas hardest hit by the global economic crisis. A range of programs across campus The Blackstone LaunchPad complements an increasingly vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem at UCLA that includes the Startup UCLA
19 UCLA COLLEGE REPORT
Published on Dec 2, 2014