ATLANTA—The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is partnering with Morehouse College and two fellow Atlanta University Center (AUC) institutions to develop the entrepreneurial spirit of students and supply them with resources, networks, and opportunities that will help them to build thriving companies and careers.
The Blackstone LaunchPad will expand entrepreneurship training and mentorship opportunities for Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University students. The LaunchPad partnership at the AUC is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $40 million commitment to expand the initiative over the next five years from 30 to 75 colleges and universities that have a majority diverse population or serve under-resourced communities.
"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."
With more than 2,200 students, Morehouse College is dedicated to the education and development of men who are focused on academic excellence, leadership, and service. Its nationally-acclaimed business program is a top-feeder school for Black men entering high-ranked MBA programs and is recognized for preparing men of color for managerial and executive leadership roles.
Morehouse College received a gift to fund the launch of the Blackstone LaunchPad program on campus. It will be operated in collaboration with the Morehouse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (MIEC), an institutional center dedicated to improving access to training and capital for minority business owners and future entrepreneurs. Through industry and higher education collaborations within the tech, banking, and academic fields, the MIEC has successfully secured more than $50 million in grants and contracts as well as impacted over 2100 students and 236 small businesses to help create 476 new jobs since its inception in 2004. The center has also helped to increase the number of new businesses in southwest Atlanta and has provided support services for existing small and minority businesses, as well as student entrepreneurs.
"Entrepreneurship is singularly transformative in creating equity in society, building wealth within communities, and forming professional pathways for innovative and enterprising people of color like Morehouse men," said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., president of Morehouse College. "We fully expect our students to leverage the empowering resources provided through our Blackstone LaunchPad network partnership to launch ventures propelled by ideas that reimagine the commercial and social status quo."
With support from partners including Future Founders, United Negro College Fund, Startup Grind, and Techstars, the Blackstone LaunchPad will offer several services to rising entrepreneurs, including access to proven startup resources, a global network of mentors and advisors, pitch competitions, and a speaker series, among other outreach.
“We would like to thank the Blackstone Charitable Foundation for their generosity and dedication to support the career mobility of students at Morehouse College,” said Monique Dozier, Vice President of the Office of Institutional Advancement at Morehouse College. “This partnership will help to develop the entrepreneurial skills of our scholars and propel them along the path of business ownership and financial independence, giving them the freedom to become employers and investors in their communities.”
For more information about Blackstone LaunchPad, visit blackstonelaunchpad.org.