Blackstone LaunchPad to Expand to CSI

Blackstone LaunchPad announced that it has expanded access to its student venture and entrepreneurial skill-building program to students at the College of Staten Island, along with eight other City University of New York (CUNY) colleges across all five New York City boroughs.

Blackstone LaunchPad’s network will provide students at CSI with the resources and opportunities to support their entrepreneurial endeavors and career ambitions. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has committed $6 million to the program. The College of Staten Island will join Baruch College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College, Brooklyn College, City College of New York, Lehman College, Queens College, and Queensborough Community College as CUNY schools participating in the program.

“CUNY is pleased to partner with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation on this important skill-building initiative that will connect students on nine of our campuses with mentors, networks, and professional development opportunities, while nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “As we emerge from a pandemic that has recalibrated the future of work, programs like Blackstone LaunchPad are essential to ensuring that our economic recovery embraces and extends to all New Yorkers proportionately and equitably. We thank the Blackstone Charitable Foundation for their commitment to CUNY and our students, and for supporting institutions of higher learning that share our bedrock values of diversity and inclusion.”

“While our campus provides initiatives related to entrepreneurship such as discrete curricular offerings, through our Small Business Development Center, and CSI’s Tech Incubator, Blackstone LaunchPad will enable us to develop a platform to leverage and expand these existing resources to provide access to knowledge, skills, and networks for all our students,” said Dr. William J. Fritz, President of the College. Our campus proposal has implications for the Borough of Staten Island and beyond, as we are an anchor institution that has a significant impact on the local economy.”

Together with the recent announcement of Blackstone LaunchPad’s expansion to three historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta, the New York partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s effort to ensure that the development of an entrepreneurial mindset and skills – such as a business acumen and a creative approach to problem solving – are available to a more diverse set of students.

For students at CSI, Blackstone LaunchPad will facilitate a global network of lasting professional relationships between students, faculty, and advisors through proven startup resources and unique virtual and physical convening opportunities. Students will also have the chance to participate in pitch competitions, fellowships, and live speaker series to pursue their desired career with the skills needed to succeed. 

Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, said: “Given our charitable foundation’s longstanding commitment to serving the communities in which we live and work, we are very excited for the opportunity to bring Blackstone LaunchPad to all five boroughs of New York City. Our partnership with these outstanding schools is an exciting step in our broader commitment to increasing access to entrepreneurial skills, networks, and resources among underrepresented students to build successful companies and careers.”

The CUNY partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $40 million commitment to expand Blackstone LaunchPad to higher-ed institutions that have a majority diverse population or are serving under-resourced communities. The initiative began with an expansion to bring Blackstone LaunchPad’s network and resources to six additional campuses in the University of Texas system, designated Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), demonstrating continued dedication to increasing diversity among student entrepreneurs and the development of skills for career mobility. The College of Staten Island is one of 16 designated HSI institutions within The City University of New York. By September, Blackstone LaunchPad will be available to more than one million students at 45 schools in the U.S. and Ireland and will increase its program to 75 campuses over the next five years.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has led Blackstone’s philanthropic initiatives since 2007. It is driven by the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and providing access to opportunity in the communities in which its members live and work. Blackstone LaunchPad helps college students learn entrepreneurial skills for success to build thriving companies and careers, with an increasing commitment to schools that have a majority diverse student population or engage with underrepresented communities. BX Connects engages Blackstone’s global employee base to partner with non-profits, supporting their missions through volunteer opportunities, fundraising, board service, and other charitable activities.