Posted: September 4, 2012
LORAIN COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE OPENS “BLACKSTONE LAUNCHPAD” FOR STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS
One of four Northeast Ohio campuses to launch acclaimed entrepreneurship model
Students at Lorain County Community College and The University Partnership now have free access to business support through the acclaimed entrepreneurship model of the Blackstone LaunchPad.
The Blackstone LaunchPad helps students move their idea for a business or product from conception to reality. The services are available for all students, regardless of their area of study.
"Blackstone LaunchPad promotes entrepreneurship as a viable career choice for any student, not just those working on a business degree," Lee S. Kolczun, BLP director, said.
LCCC is one of four northeast Ohio campuses, representing more than 72,000 students, that will open the 2012 academic year with a new, acclaimed campus program that encourages young people to pursue entrepreneurship as a career and to turn untested ideas into real business ventures.
LCCC is one of four local colleges and universities chosen to participate in a three-year partnership with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and The Burton D. Morgan Foundation to support the next generation of entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and The Burton D. Morgan Foundation grants to LCCC, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University and Baldwin Wallace University expand a national Blackstone LaunchPad network that gives students and alumni the skills, knowledge and guidance to start new companies.
"We are honored to partner with these fine institutions through the Blackstone LaunchPad Initiative. At LCCC, we strongly believe that fostering an entrepreneurial mindset within our students and our community holds the key to successfully reinventing our region," said Roy A. Church, President of LCCC. "This new grant will expand our existing skills in mentoring new ventures to develop successful student entrepreneurs."
The Blackstone LaunchPad at LCCC officially opened on August 27. A grand opening event will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, September 7 on the first floor of the Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center on the LCCC campus.
“Blackstone LaunchPad will help our region continue its transformation into a talent-rich destination and a powerful incubator for entrepreneurs. The program builds on the collegiate entrepreneurial strength that already exists in our region by adding a robust experiential campus-wide program,” said Deborah D. Hoover, President and CEO of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
This initiative will help build upon the assets that LCCC has established to encourage entrepreneurial activity through its Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) and the Innovation Fund, Church noted. GLIDE is a business incubator located on LCCC's campus that was developed in partnership with the Lorain County Commissioners and the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce. To further enhance GLIDE's impact, the LCCC Foundation, with support from many partners including the Ohio Third Frontier program, established the Innovation Fund to support technology-based start-up companies. More than 700 jobs have been created by 105 companies supported by these two initiatives.
Blackstone LaunchPad builds on a program developed at the University of Miami in 2008, which has generated 65 new ventures, 120 new jobs and drawn nearly 2,000 student participants. In 2010 the first Blackstone LaunchPad was opened at two schools in Detroit.
LCCC and UP students who are interested may create a personal profile at www.lorainccc.edu/blackstonelaunchpad. This will allow students to communicate with other Blackstone LaunchPad members, fill out a Venture Assessment form, and access free consulting and other resources. "Students can meet with a Venture Advisor for one-on-one advice and guidance and participate in free events, workshops and activities with other entrepreneurs and industry leaders who can help them launch their ideas," Kolczun said.
Interested students may also register in person at the Blackstone LaunchPad, located in room 114 of the Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center. Students may also contact Janice Lapina, program manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (440) 366-4900.