Ever since The Launch Pad at the University of Miami opened, its model of presenting entrepreneurship as a viable career option for students has spread. Now, Philadelphia is the latest to benefit from the model.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation recently announced that it is bringing Blackstone LaunchPad to Pennsylvania to train Philadelphia’s next generation of entrepreneurs. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $3 million grant establishes a partnership between the University City Science Center, Temple University, and Philadelphia University to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide university students and alumni with the skills, knowledge, and guidance to transform new ideas into viable companies. The Pennsylvania Blackstone LaunchPad programs are expected to generate some 100 ventures and hundreds of jobs over the next five years.
Blackstone LaunchPad replicates and implements the successful program developed at the University of Miami in 2008, which has generated 85 start-up ventures, 210 new jobs, and drawn nearly 2,000 participants. Since 2010, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has opened Blackstone LaunchPads on six campuses in southeast Michigan and northeast Ohio. Each regional initiative will be linked together, drawing ideas and best practices from more established programs, and giving the student entrepreneurs at Temple and Philadelphia Universities access to a stronger network of expert advisers for their ventures.
“Entrepreneurship is a job multiplier. Our economy cannot create jobs or improve income quickly enough without more successful entrepreneurs. Through Blackstone LaunchPad, we are proud to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs who will transform local economies by creating new and innovative companies,” said Blackstone Co-Founder, Chair, and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman.
From new facilities at Temple University and Philadelphia University, Blackstone LaunchPad will multiply the connections between the campus, business communities, and local entrepreneurs to create an environment that nurtures young entrepreneurs and provides them the skills and network necessary to succeed. Unlike traditional college curricular programs available to limited school populations, Blackstone LaunchPad is open to all 41,000 students at Temple and Philadelphia University, regardless of major. Through the campus and Science Center partnership, students and alumni will have access to an expanded universe of resources and years of institutional knowledge, helping them launch ventures that can take root locally and strengthen the economy.
Philadelphia was chosen as the next region for a Blackstone LaunchPad because of its critical need for economic growth and job creation. This—coupled with its dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem, where talent is abundant and a strong set of support services are already in place—made Philadelphia ripe for Blackstone LaunchPad. Temple and Philadelphia Universities are two schools that already possess a rich entrepreneurial spirit, and as the first, and largest, urban research park in the United States, the Science Center is a natural partner for this initiative. Graduate organizations and current residents of the Science Center’s Port business incubator have created more than 15,000 current direct jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually. The Science Center’s established relationships, network and preexisting experience managing partnerships among various institutions make it well suited to manage the Blackstone LaunchPad program in Philadelphia.
Funding for this program is made possible through The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $50 million, five-year Entrepreneurship Initiative. Driven by the urgent need for job growth in the United States, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation seeks to support innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can accelerate start-ups, job growth and economic activity. Due to the early success of these programs and The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s commitment to expanding LaunchPad to five new regions over the next five years, LaunchPad has been recognized by President Obama’s “Startup America Initiative.”