EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct. 18, 2022) – Blackstone Charitable Foundation is committing $2 million to expand access to its entrepreneurial skill-building program, Blackstone LaunchPad, to all North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University students, along with students at three other historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Blackstone LaunchPad logoThrough Blackstone LaunchPad, space will be created on the N.C. A&T campus for programming that exposes students to entrepreneurship, cultivates the entrepreneurial spirit and activates entrepreneurial activity.

“We want to show students how the entrepreneurial mindset isn’t just about starting a business. It’s also about the ability to effectively solve problems and bring holistic value in the world,” said Antwon Foreman, an entrepreneurship instructor in A&T’s Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics who will serve as director of this program. “This funding will be used primarily to create programs and initiatives to increase entrepreneurial engagement with entrepreneurship competitions and possibly an entrepreneurship accelerator on campus as well.”

Blackstone LaunchPad’s campus-based programming and national network will provide A&T students – along with students at Bowie State University, Morgan State University and North Carolina Central University – with the resources and opportunities to support their entrepreneurial endeavors and career readiness.

Last year, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced a $40 million commitment to further expand Blackstone LaunchPad to minority-serving institutions and community colleges and reach more students, particularly those who may otherwise not have access to these opportunities.

Blackstone LaunchPad will help cultivate student startup ideas and increase access to a pipeline of internship and job opportunities. Students will be able to participate in national programming such as pitch competitions, fellowships and conferences where they will have opportunities to win cash prizes and build a lasting network of professional relationships.

“At Blackstone, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We are thrilled to welcome these new schools into our community,” said Blackstone Charitable Foundation Executive Director Maura Pally. “We hope that all students will engage with Blackstone LaunchPad and walk away with an expanded network and key entrepreneurial skills that will set them up for success in any career or venture they pursue.”

During the past year, Blackstone LaunchPad has expanded to six additional campuses in the University of Texas system, five Hispanic-serving institutions and HBCUs, and nine schools in the City University of New York system. Blackstone LaunchPad aims to have reached 75 schools by 2026.

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