Roadrunners Gain Entrepreneurial Tools with Blackstone LaunchPad

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There’s no shortage of innovative and entrepreneurial students at UTSA. For years UTSA students have pitched their startup ideas at business plan competitions, participated in tech showcases and attended entrepreneurship boot camps, receiving support primarily through the university’s Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship. Beginning today, creative Roadrunners will be able to tap into a new network that will provide additional experiential learning opportunities to improve their career readiness.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has expanded its signature Blackstone LaunchPad student entrepreneurship programming from two to eight campuses in The University of Texas System, as reported on the Blackstone LaunchPad blog, bringing the initiative’s network and resources to a more diverse set of students.

The $5 million expansion will give even more students critical access to resources, opportunities and mentorship at the following campuses: UT El Paso, UT Permian Basin, UT Rio Grande Valley, UTSA, UT Medical Branch and UT Southwestern. UT Austin and UT Dallas have been LaunchPad sites since 2016. With four of the six campuses included in this expansion designated Hispanic Serving Institutions, LaunchPad doubles the number of HSIs in its network, demonstrating a commitment to increasing inclusion in student entrepreneurship.

“Expanding LaunchPad to more UT institutions helps develop a more robust pipeline of student entrepreneurs in Texas. This experience will encourage them to generate new ideas and some day launch companies and drive job growth,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “We are grateful to the Blackstone Charitable Foundation for its generous contribution and for its effort to reach a more diverse student population across Texas.”

UT System students will be able to expand their ideas outside of the classroom by utilizing LaunchPad’s events, mentorships and an exceptional network to help them succeed in their entrepreneurial ventures. At UT Austin and UT Dallas, LaunchPad has been available to more than 60,000 students with more than 14,000 engaged in programming annually.

“We are incredibly excited to help student entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition,” said Amy Stursberg, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “LaunchPad provides an invaluable experience by helping students acquire entrepreneurial skills that will help them contribute to Texas’ economic growth and prepare them for today’s workforce.”

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation established LaunchPad in 2008 and partnered with Techstars eight years later to provide participants with access to its network of more than 10,000 mentors, invitations to signature events like Startup Week and Startup Weekend, and access to world-renowned content and startup services. With Future Founders, Blackstone LaunchPad provides a seasonal eight-week fellowship, during which student founders receive $5,000 in nondilutive grant funding to support their time working on advancing their ventures as well as access to workshops and adviser networks. Startup Grind also serves as an event partner and offers new student membership for LaunchPad participants. 

Blackstone LaunchPad also helps student entrepreneurs navigate the complex landscape of fundraising, job placement and recruitment. LaunchPad has achieved success across 24 campuses in the U.S. and Ireland, providing nearly 750,000 students with the access to resources, personal connections and professional networks they need to get their companies off the ground.