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Blackstone and Techstars partner to support student entrepreneurs globally


Mon, Mar 12th 2018 12:05 pm
Leading programs team up to build the largest global network of college entrepreneurs
Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars have joined forces to supercharge Blackstone LaunchPad beyond college campuses to reach more than a million new students over the next three years.
Techstars, a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, will provide Blackstone LaunchPad, a pre-eminent campus-based entrepreneurship program, with access to its network of more than 10,000 mentors, invitations to signature events, and access to world-renowned content and startup services.
"We are excited for this new partnership. It is a natural next step to build on our early momentum and will help with our goal of launching more student startups on campus. Techstars' expertise, resources and mentor network will really help us take the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB to the next level," said Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of Blackstone LaunchPad at UB and executive director of UB School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Techstars will also help student entrepreneurs navigate the complex landscape of fundraising, job placement and recruitment. All of these opportunities and resources are seldom available to collegiate entrepreneurs and campus-based programs, and are crucial to the long-term success of ventures.
The partnership, announced at SXSW EDU in Texas, will begin in 2018.
"This exciting partnership between Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars comes at the perfect time to build on the strong and rapidly growing student interest and involvement in entrepreneurship that has been made possible by UB's LaunchPad. Through this partnership, UB students will have access to exciting new networks of entrepreneurship mentors, events, high-quality content and startup support and services. I am looking forward to our students' entrepreneurial thinking and success as current and future entrepreneurs advance through these new opportunities," said Paul Tesluk, dean of the UB School of Management.
Blackstone LaunchPad, a program that encourages entrepreneurial thinking and startup activity, is currently available to more than 500,000 students, including more than 30,000 at the University at Buffalo.
The university unveiled Blackstone LaunchPad at UB in 2016 as part of a statewide rollout of the campus entrepreneurship program that included Cornell University, New York University, Syracuse University and the University at Albany. Funded by a $4.5 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative, the statewide program is the largest expansion of Blackstone LaunchPad, which includes eight regions.
Located within the Student Union on the North Campus, Blackstone Launchpad at UB introduces entrepreneurship as a viable career option to UB students, regardless of major. It provides students with individualized mentorship and ideation support, as well as seminars and training sessions related to building a business. Students also gain access to resources and specialized tools that will enable them to share knowledge, explore best practices, find team members and launch their startup.
Additionally, Blackstone LaunchPad at UB matches students with venture or angel funding by creating forums for investors to entertain student entrepreneur pitches, and help place students with business incubators. The program has the potential to generate some 4,000 new ventures and 6,000 new jobs across New York state throughout its first five years.
"Access to experienced entrepreneurs and investors is important to the success of startup companies. Techstars will extend our network of expertise to help drive the growth of future UB spin-outs and the more than 50 UB-based startups we currently support in our incubators and entrepreneur programs," said Christina P. Orsi, associate vice president of economic development at UB.

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