Posted December 3, 2012

Temple among recipients of $3M Blackstone LaunchPad grant for entrepreneurship


Entrepreneurship is part of Temple University’s DNA.

Ever since its founder, Russell H. Conwell, envisioned Temple “as an incubator for the talent and creativity of Philadelphia’s working class,” the university has always provided opportunities for students to drive progress, President Richard M. Englert said.

On Monday, Englert joined in announcing a $3 million Blackstone LaunchPad grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation that establishes a partnership among Temple, Philadelphia University and the University City Science Center to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career option and to provide students and alumni with the skills, knowledge and guidance to transform ideas into viable companies. The Pennsylvania Blackstone LaunchPad programs are expected to generate some 100 ventures and hundreds of jobs during the next five years.

“We at Temple want each and every student to be exposed to entrepreneurship as part of their personal and professional development and for it to become a central way of thinking throughout their lives,” Englert said.

Blackstone LaunchPad aims to multiply the connections among campuses, business communities and local entrepreneurs. It is open to all 41,000 students — regardless of major — at the two partner universities. Participants in the LaunchPad process establish a personal profile, complete a venture-assessment form, and receive individualized consultation and venture coaching. Jaine Lucas, executive director of the university-wide Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, based at the Fox School of Business, will serve in the same capacity at the Blackstone LaunchPad at Temple, expected to begin next semester.

Funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $50 million, five-year entrepreneurship initiative, Blackstone LaunchPad replicates and implements a program developed at the University of Miami in 2008 that has generated 85 startups, 210 new jobs and attracted nearly 2,000 participants. Since 2010, Blackstone LaunchPads have opened on six campuses in southeast Michigan and northeast Ohio.

Philadelphia was chosen as the latest region for a Blackstone LaunchPad because of its critical need for economic growth and job creation, as well as its dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem, where talent is abundant and a strong set of support services are already in place.

“Entrepreneurship is a job multiplier. Our economy cannot create jobs or improve income quickly enough without more successful entrepreneurs,” said Blackstone co-founder, Chairman and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman. “Through Blackstone LaunchPad, we are proud to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs who will transform local economies by creating new and innovative companies.”

Monday’s grant announcement, held at the University City Science Center, also featured comments from its president and CEO, Stephen S. Tang, William Green of the University of Miami, David Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli, Congressman Chaka Fattah and Sen. Pat Toomey.

In statements, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said Blackstone LaunchPad is “the kind of program that deepens Pennsylvania’s status on the entrepreneurship map” while Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said the city “has all of the assets necessary to be an entrepreneurial hub and is fast becoming a place of choice for innovators, makers and founders.”