Nearly 41,000 students at two local universities have a new dedicated resource to support their entrepreneurial aspirations. Students at Philadelphia University and Temple University are now able to take advantage of Blackstone LaunchPad, an innovative co-curricular program designed to transform their ideas into thriving businesses. The Blackstone LaunchPad Philadelphia program is a partnership between Philadelphia University, Temple University and the University City Science Center.
The program, developed by the University of Miami, has been expanded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation across the country on 14 campuses in six regions bringing a total of 350,000 students into their national network. Its goals are to help students view entrepreneurship as a mainstream career path and drive regional economic development.
The Blackstone LaunchPad at Philadelphia Universityis located in the DEC Center and is managed by Executive Director Zoe Selzer McKinley. Prior to joining Philadelphia University, Selzer McKinley served as founding executive director of Good Company Group. Philadelphia University will hold an official ribbon cutting for its LaunchPad office on Wednesday, May 14 at 4 p.m. at the DEC Center on campus. For more information, contact Zoe Selzer McKinley at mckinleyz(at)philau(dot)edu.
The Blackstone LaunchPad at Temple University is housed on the first floor of the Howard Gittis Student Center and run by Executive Director Jaine Lucas and Director Marilyn Barry. Lucas also serves as the Executive Director of Temple’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute and is a serial entrepreneur. Barry brings over 25 years’ experience running, coaching and consulting with small business and high-growth firms. In addition, she has coached student entrepreneurs in Temple’s business plan competition for the last five years.
As the regional partner for Blackstone LaunchPad Philadelphia, the University City Science Center supports the programs at Temple and Philadelphia Universities and will develop and manage a Venture Coaching Network open to LaunchPad students. The Science Center is also identifying ways to support student entrepreneurship in the Greater Philadelphia region’s broader collegiate ecosystem.
The Blackstone LaunchPad program is a four-step process. After students fill out a profile and describe their business idea and development needs, Blackstone LaunchPad staff meets with the student to give advice and help connect him or her to people who can help further the idea. Finally, once the concept is mature enough, students have the opportunity to participate in the Venture Coaching Network, a structured regional mentoring and venture coaching program with relevant business experts to help scale and grow their ventures.
Since its establishment, Blackstone LaunchPad has created or supported more than 950 jobs, advised more than 3,000 ventures and sustained more than 460 businesses.
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