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Grand Opening of Kent State University’s Blackstone LaunchPad Program Set for Sept. 28

Posted Sep. 10, 2012
enter photo description
The Kent State University Blackstone LaunchPad program
offers Kent State students, employees and alumni a safe
place to discuss and develop business ideas.

Kent State University will hold a grand opening of its Blackstone LaunchPad program on Friday, Sept. 28. The event celebrates the establishment of the entrepreneurial initiative at the university. Kent State faculty, staff, students and alumni are invited to attend an open house that will take place from 1 - 4 p.m. at the Blackstone LaunchPad office on the first floor of the Kent Student Center, beside the University Bookstore. A press conference will be held prior to the open house.

Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad program emphasizes entrepreneurship as a viable career path and gives Kent State students, faculty and alumni the skills, knowledge and guidance they need to start new companies. The program, which accommodates all students regardless of major, and involves local entrepreneurs as mentors, started offering services to students in late May.

“Faculty and staff should attend the open house to clearly see what Blackstone LaunchPad offers,” says Julie Messing, executive director for Entrepreneurship Initiatives at Kent State. “It is more than just advising entrepreneurs on the startup of their business. It is a safe place to discuss ideas without judgment, and receive the guidance and networking to help transform those ideas into businesses.”

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, sponsors of the initiative, committed to a $3.2 million, three-year partnership with Kent State University and three other area colleges and universities to make the Blackstone LaunchPad program possible.  Both foundations hope to foster entrepreneurship and job growth in Northeast Ohio through the program.

Messing says that to get started with the Blackstone LaunchPad program, faculty, staff, students and alumni can complete the personal profile form that is on the program’s website, after which they get validated and invited to submit a venture form and establish meetings with venture advisors.

“We want to emphasize that the Blackstone LaunchPad program is a free and confidential service.  Students, faculty, staff and alumni can be reassured that their business concepts are kept completely confidential by LaunchPad staff,” says Kate Harmon, program manager for Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad program. “All LaunchPad staff, including student employees, sign nondisclosure agreements to uphold this level of confidence.”

Harmon says that Blackstone LaunchPad clients can schedule meetings at their own pace with the program’s venture advisors who will mentor them through the development of their businesses and introduce them to a network of leading industry entrepreneurs. One-on-one entrepreneurial guidance is also supplemented with Blackstone LaunchPad events and workshops that broadly address common start-up business concepts and highlight local entrepreneurs in specific industries.

For more information about the Blackstone LaunchPad program at Kent State, visit