Grant to establish Blackstone LaunchPad for FIU student entrepreneurs

Florida International University has received a $500,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to establish a Blackstone LaunchPad at FIU to augment entrepreneurship support already available the university and provide students with skills, knowledge, and guidance to transform ideas into companies.

Blackstone LaunchPad at FIU, housed at the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center at FIU Business, will provide students of all majors with training to boost their careers and assistance to turn business ideas into viable ventures.

FIU’s offers entrepreneurship education and initiatives across multiple disciplines to prepare student entrepreneurs for success in meeting the demands of new and growing industries.

“We are extremely grateful to the Blackstone Charitable Foundation for providing us with this opportunity to expand the entrepreneurship programs at FIU,” said William Hardin, dean of FIU Business. “This grant will enable us to strengthen our commitment to providing our students with the tools they need to assess new enterprise opportunities and start new ventures.”

Blackstone LaunchPad at FIU also will collaborate with the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at FIU Business, which offers no-cost consulting and support to help entrepreneurs start a business or grow an existing business, as well as StartUp FIU entrepreneurship incubator and the Business Innovation & Technology Clinic under FIU Law, the College of Engineering and Computing and College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts.

Unveiled on December 8, 2022, Blackstone LaunchPad at FIU will boost venture coaching for FIU’s student entrepreneurs, leverage existing FIU entrepreneurial and career programs for students, and create a new FIU student pitch competition linked to LaunchPad’s national pitch competition.

“Our focus is on making entrepreneurial skill-building and career resources available for FIU students to help build strong careers at thriving companies,” said James Oyetunji, campus director of Blackstone LaunchPad at FIU.

The grant is part of the foundation’s $5 million commitment to expand access to its student venture and entrepreneurial skill-building program to five colleges, including three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and two Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

“It is important that our students see that such a powerful company believes in them and is offering financial support” said Anna Pietraszek, faculty fellow in entrepreneurship and innovation at the Pino Center.

Blackstone LaunchPad was founded in 2008 to empower student entrepreneurs as they develop their professional skills and pursue their ventures.

“We are thrilled to welcome this new group of Florida LaunchPad schools into our network and community,” said Maura Pally, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “Blackstone continues to be committed to Florida and to connecting students with professional networks and opportunities to help them build successful companies and careers.”