The entrepreneurial spirit has always been alive and well amongst college students. Drawing from their education and experience, many choose to create their own company or develop an idea that can be brought to the marketplace right after graduation. The Blackstone LaunchPad (BLP) at Kent State University (KSU) has a program that is helping students every step of the way.
In 2011, KSU was one of four Ohio institutions to receive a grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The grant was to be used to expand BLP to the Kent State campus. The BLP program provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and supportive mentors they need to transform untested ideas into vital companies.
The BLP’s mission is to maximize student success by fostering a campus-wide entrepreneurial mindset that promotes inter-disciplinary collaboration in innovation and the creation of new venture initiatives.
Kent State’s BLP is located on the first floor of the Student Center. The central location grants easy access to students on campus.
It is extremely beneficial for students to start businesses in the communities in where they attend college. Northeast Ohio, having been deeply impacted by the economic crisis, was seen as an ideal region for the BLP. In addition to Kent State, the three other Ohio schools with BLPs on campus are all located in this area: Lorain County Community College, Baldwin Wallace University, and Case Western Reserve University.
Students get to take part in workshops, seminars, and networking events, which connect aspiring business owners with mentors, experts, and resources necessary to help them bring their ideas to market.
“Blackstone LaunchPad at Kent State provides our students, faculty, staff, and alumni with the resources, consultation, connections, and knowledge to successfully achieve their entrepreneurial goals,” said Melody Tankersley, associate provost for academic affairs at KSU. “It’s so inspiring to attend the events and competitions that LaunchPad hosts to see the great ideas that our KSU community brings forward”.
One of the events coming up is the Fashion/Tech Hackathon. This hackathon, or an event in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming, is focused on combining fashion, wearable technology and creating cool products and concepts within 24 hours. Student teams will have the opportunity to compete for various cash prize categories.
For more information, please visit www.fashiontechhackathon.com. For a list of all of the upcoming BLP events, please visit: