“Startup America” to Foster Innovation and Job Creation
Successful Entrepreneurship Platform, “Blackstone LaunchPad” will be Replicated in Five New Cities
New York -- The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has joined forces with The White House in support of the Administration’s “Startup America” initiative announced today. This public/private alliance of the nation’s most innovative foundations, entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, and other leaders will work together to increase the prevalence and success of American entrepreneurs. The goal of the initiative is to marshal private resources to scale up a portfolio of proven models that spur innovation activities and bring ideas to market more quickly to get new businesses up and running.
“We are honored to be recognized by the White House for our commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and pleased to join “Startup America” as a private sector partner,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Founder of The Blackstone Group. “I strongly believe in the power of entrepreneurs to make a profound contribution to our national economic recovery. It is vitally important that they find the encouragement and support they need to be successful and we look forward to playing a role in that effort.”
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced last spring a 5-year, $50 million Entrepreneurship Initiative aimed at economic growth and job creation. The Foundation’s mission is based on resounding evidence that startups bring a wealth of transformative innovations to market and have largely fueled net job creation over the past three decades. The Foundation is dedicating substantial resources to encourage and support entrepreneurs and the high growth businesses and industries they generate.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation welcomes the chance to partner with the Obama Administration and leading institutions from around the country to advance this important effort. The goals of the Foundation are very aligned with the mission of “Startup America” to support program models that strengthen entrepreneurship education and mentorship; accelerate commercialization for getting ideas to market; and create integrated innovation ecosystems in regions poised for significant start-up activity.
As part of its $50 million entrepreneurship initiative, the Foundation made its first commitment in 2010 to create “Blackstone LaunchPad” at two Detroit area colleges – Wayne State University and Walsh College. Blackstone LaunchPad makes entrepreneurship a viable career path for college and graduate students as well as alumni. Created at the University of Miami, LaunchPad provides concrete tools and guidance from experienced venture coaches to help aspiring entrepreneurs transform untested ideas into vital businesses. Fostering and supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs can have a profound impact on the economic revitalization of a particular region.
Response to the Michigan programs has been very strong. In just three months, more than 1,000 individuals have expressed interest in LaunchPad, with a wide range of business ideas under consideration. The Southeast Michigan community is very hopeful as well about how the program could help turn around this distressed economy.
Encouraged by the potential impact of LaunchPad and as part of the White House initiative, the Foundation is announcing a significant scaling up of Blackstone LaunchPads through a five-year, five region expansion to other distressed regions. The goal is to continue to scale up Launch Pad as a national model for fostering entrepreneurship through higher education.
Additionally, later this year, the Foundation plans to unveil the first of a number of major investments in large-scale, integrated region-wide initiatives aimed at spurring innovation and nurturing business development and job growth. These investments will strengthen regional entrepreneurship ecosystems by forging partnerships between universities, accelerators, angel investors and government that accelerate the translation of innovations from lab to marketplace and bring significant secondary benefits to local economies.
The first project will assist a region rich in potential innovations but lacking a strong and expansive ecosystem. This model will engage four universities to create clusters throughout the region that provide the entrepreneurial expertise and support start-ups need to grow and flourish. In a second project, Blackstone is helping to create a more accessible system of entrepreneurial services to support businesses ready to grow to the next level by expanding and aligning strong entrepreneurship programs and services throughout the state.
About The Blackstone Charitable Foundation:
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of The Blackstone Group’s Initial Public Offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, please visit: http://www.blackstone.com/CharitableFoundation.htm