Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Spelman College is joining its Atlanta counterparts — Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College — in a partnership that will make entrepreneurship more accessible to its students.
According to a press release, the all-women HBCU is one of the latest partners of Blackstone LaunchPad — a Techstars powered campus resource connecting schools to business and entrepreneurship — for a mission dedicated to giving diverse students in the Atlanta University Center Consortium more access to tools and resources to help develop their own entrepreneurial skills.
Blackstone LaunchPad was developed with support from the United Negro College Fund Inc. (UNCF), and its expansion to Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta is the latest step in the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s commitment to increase career mobility for diverse student bodies.
“Spelman’s goal is to provide our students with the competitive edge they need to excel in any field,” school president Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. said in a statement. “Providing access to entrepreneurial insight, training and mentoring through high caliber partnerships, Blackstone LaunchPad is an innovative program our scholars will benefit from for years to come. We are grateful for the investment in our students by Blackstone LaunchPad, which aligns with our new Center for Black Entrepreneurship, and will result in diversifying the pipeline of owners and leaders.”
This new partnership is a part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $40 million, five-year pledge to expand the LaunchPad program from 30 to 75 colleges and universities across the country with majority diverse student populations or those that serve under-resourced communities.
As part of the program, students will have the opportunity to participate in pitch competitions, fellowships and live speaker series. Additionally, they’ll also be able to access a vast global network of mentors and advisors, proven startup resources, as well as unique virtual and in-person opportunities.
“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 — in a statement. “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.”
UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D. echoed this sentiment saying that the new partnership will open “opportunities for our HBCU campuses and their students.”
“We look forward to continuing our partnership and introducing Blackstone LaunchPad to additional HBCUs across the United States,” he continued in his statement. “Advancements like this enable our students to make their talents grow exponentially and open doors they could never have dreamed of even peering through previously.”
To date, Blackstone LaunchPad currently operates across 30 U.S. and Ireland schools and serves over 90,000 students.
For more information about Blackstone LaunchPad, visit its website.