Spelman College, along with Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College, announces a new partnership with Blackstone LaunchPad to make the development of entrepreneurial skills more accessible to students in the Atlanta University Center Consortium.
Developed with support from United Negro College Fund Inc., the largest scholarship provider for students of color, Blackstone LaunchPad’s expansion to Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta is the latest step in the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s commitment to increase career mobility for a more diverse set of students through entrepreneurship training and skill-building.
“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. “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.”
The partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $40 million, five-year commitment to expand Blackstone LaunchPad from 30 to 75 colleges and universities that have a majority diverse population or serve under-resourced communities. 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.
“We are thrilled to be supporting these three great schools and their students through Blackstone LaunchPad,” said Amy Stursberg, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “This partnership is an exciting step in our broader commitment to introduce students from underrepresented communities to entrepreneurial skillsets that are applicable to all future career paths.”
The initiative began with a $5 million expansion in January 2021 to six campuses designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions in the University of Texas system that demonstrated a commitment to increasing diversity in student entrepreneurship.
“This 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 Universities Consortium schools,” said UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D. “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.”
With support from partners including Future Founders, UNCF, Startup Grind and Techstars, Blackstone LaunchPad is currently available to over 900,000 students at 30 schools in the United States and Ireland.