Jul 01, 2015

Blackstone Charitable Foundation Announces First Global Expansion of Successful Campus Entrepreneurship Program “Blackstone LaunchPad” to Ireland

Dublin, Ireland, July 1st, 2015 – The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced the first international expansion of its campus entrepreneurship program, Blackstone LaunchPad, to Ireland. Ireland becomes the seventh Blackstone LaunchPad region and its first international one, after Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, and California.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s three-year, €2 million grant will establish a partnership between National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Cork to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide over 50,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system. 

The announcement event at Trinity College Dublin was attended by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., who delivered remarks, and United States Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley, University College Cork President Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. James Browne, President of NUI Galway, and Professor Linda HoganVice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer & Deputy President of Trinity College Dublin.

Blackstone LaunchPad in Ireland will connect the university campuses, the business community, and local entrepreneurs to create an environment that nurtures students and provides them with the skills and network necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs. With a physical presence on each university campus and access to the Blackstone LaunchPad Global Network Technology Platform, the programme has the potential to generate some 1,500 new ventures and 3,700 new jobs across Ireland over the next five years. 

Welcoming the announcement, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., said, “In rebuilding our economy we are promoting policies that support enterprise and job creation across a range of different sectors.  It is our goal that this balanced recovery will lead to sustainable full employment by 2018.  To achieve this vision, we need to embrace the entrepreneurial instincts of students in Irish universities - for them to ask not, ‘what company do I want to work for?’ but, ‘what company do I want to create?’

“The Blackstone LaunchPad programme will foster an entrepreneurial mind-set in students across the country and equip the entrepreneurs of today with the expertise to become the employers of tomorrow.  Very importantly, this programme supports, encourages and enables our most driven young people to build their futures and pursue innovation in Ireland.  The future of business development and international investment in Ireland is closely related to our international links with the world and I am proud that Ireland was chosen as the first global expansion of this highly successful programme.”

“Ireland’s young people are driven, curious, and innovative thinkers – all qualities necessary to be successful entrepreneurs,” said Blackstone’s Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman. “Blackstone LaunchPad will enable these students to develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, and build strong enterprises rooted in Ireland, and further strengthen economic activity across the country.” 

Blackstone LaunchPad is modelled after a successful programme developed at the University of Miami in 2008, which has generated 6,000 ventures and drawn over 10,000 participants since its establishment. Each regional programme established through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is linked, drawing ideas and best practices from across 15 campuses, giving student entrepreneurs in Ireland access to an international community of over 350,000 of their peers and expert advisers. 

Funding for this programme is made possible through The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, which seeks to support the development of ecosystems for aspiring entrepreneurs creating the high-growth ventures that are known to spark economic growth. Due to the early success of Blackstone LaunchPad following its implementation in Michigan, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was recognized by President Obama’s “Startup America” Initiative and pledged to expand the programme to five new regions over five years. That pledge was fulfilled by the program’s earlier expansion to California.

What They Are Saying: A Quote Roundup: 

Kevin O'Malley, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, said:
I look forward to hearing more of the wonderful stories and results from this partnership.  What you are doing now, collectively, is a tremendous thing. Entrepreneurship breaks down barriers between cultures at a time when we need more than ever the capacity to understand and work across borders. And no one understands this better than our young people, like those who will benefit from this program.

Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost and President of Trinity College Dublin, said:
We welcome today’s announcement of Blackstone LaunchPad’s campus entrepreneurship programme to Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. Trinity, with our long tradition of bridging the academic and entrepreneurship communities, is committed to educating students not just to get a job but to create jobs too.  Our Strategy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is about creating a new generation of entrepreneurially minded graduates.  We believe that by acting as a focal point for innovation and education in Dublin city centre, Trinity can help support the growth of entrepreneurship across the economy.  Our undergraduate incubator programme Launchbox already fosters that culture of entrepreneurship by creating an environment for students to tap into the enterprise ecosystem and use their creativity to turn ideas into jobs. LaunchPad will now further enable our students to collaborate with a global network of institutions. It will connect them with peers, encourage them to pool ideas and talent, as well as support the Innovation Academy at Trinity.

Dr Michael Murphy, President, University College Cork, said:
By working together, sharing, learning, and partnering, UCC will be able to create a national ecosystem to support and accelerate student entrepreneurship.  I’m pleased that our students will be able to test their ideas and start and grow their businesses while they are still at university.  Widespread instillation of an entrepreneurial mind set, leading to enhancement of the University’s entrepreneurial culture, is key. Our goal, at University College Cork, is that our culture will inspire entrepreneurs to grow their businesses when they graduate and help revitalise the broader economy.

Dr Jim Browne, President, NUI Galway, said:
We want our students to participate in this type of activity, so that they learn prior to graduation the potential they have and gain the confidence to go out into the world to shape their own futures. At NUI Galway we have a thriving ecosystem of student innovation and entrepreneurship.   Through the Blackstone LaunchPad program our students will now have access to an even more powerful international network, based on this national partnership between our three universities.  I’m delighted to acknowledge the vision and funding of Blackstone Charitable Foundation, with support from Galway University Foundation, to ensure that our students will develop their capacity for innovation and become the entrepreneurs of the future.

About The Blackstone Charitable Foundation:
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’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, go to http://www.blackstone.com/citizenship/the-blackstone-charitable-foundation.

About NUI Galway:
NUI Galway ranks among the top 2% of universities in the world and is one of Ireland’s foremost centres of academic excellence. Over 17,000 students undertake an extensive range of studies at the university, which is renowned for the quality of its graduates. NUI Galway is a research-led university with internationally recognised expertise in areas including Biomedical Science, Web Science, Human Rights, Marine, Energy & Environmental research, Applied Social Sciences, and in the Humanities, in particular literature, theatre and Irish Studies.  Located on Ireland’s Western Seaboard, the University’s campus has been transformed through a €400 million development plan. Its core focus has been to develop an open, dynamic and creative culture that promotes and supports innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.

About Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin:
Trinity College Dublin holds a global position as one of the leading universities in the world. Established in 1592, it is consistently ranked in the top 100 world universities by the QS World University Rankings, and is the highest ranking university in Ireland. Cutting edge research, technology and innovation places the university at the forefront of higher education in Ireland and globally. With 17,000 students, Trinity College Dublin encompasses all major academic disciplines, and is committed to world-class teaching and research across the range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, engineering, science, social and health sciences.   It is Ireland’s leading university across all international rankings, and is ranked 71st place worldwide and in the top 25 in Europe in the recent QS World University Rankings 2014.  The Strategy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship launched in 2013 includes a new integrated approach to innovation and entrepreneurship education for the whole university that permeates the activities of Trinity's 24 academic schools, as well as integrating its flagship research institutes.

About University College Cork:
University College Cork, with over 18,000 students, was Ireland’s first 5 star University (QS World University Rankings) and is Ireland's leading research University (Leiden 2015). The University is committed to a focus on enterprise and job creation locally, regionally, nationally and internationally and its Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is a mix of entrepreneurship education, leading edge research and student, staff and alumni activities amongst many stakeholders both internal and external to UCC including: Entrepreneurship Education, The Alta Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Learning, The Entrepreneurship and Social Society, The EU-XCEL Horizon 2020 funded Project, The IGNITE Graduate Business Programme, the Office of Technology Transfer and the GatewayUCC business incubation programme. Ensuring a University wide approach, many of these activities sit jointly between the College of Business and Law – home to the Cork University Business School (the largest undergraduate business school in Ireland) and the School of Law – and the Vice President for Research and Innovation.  

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