An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. at the Blackstone LaunchPad announcement
Jul 01 2015 Posted: 12:30 IST

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced the first international expansion of its campus entrepreneurship programme, Blackstone LaunchPad, to Ireland. Ireland becomes the seventh Blackstone LaunchPad region and its first international one, after Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, and California.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s three-year, €2 million grant will establish a partnership between National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Cork to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide over 50,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system. 

The announcement event at Trinity College Dublin was attended by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., who delivered remarks, and United States Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley, University College Cork President Dr Michael Murphy, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, and Professor Linda Hogan, Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer and Deputy President of Trinity College Dublin.

Blackstone LaunchPad in Ireland will connect the university campuses, the business community, and local entrepreneurs to create an environment that nurtures students and provides them with the skills and network necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs. With a physical presence on each university campus and access to the Blackstone LaunchPad Global Network Technology Platform, the programme has the potential to generate some 1,500 new ventures and 3,700 new jobs across Ireland over the next five years. 

Welcoming the announcement, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., said, “In rebuilding our economy we are promoting policies that support enterprise and job creation across a range of different sectors.  It is our goal that this balanced recovery will lead to sustainable full employment by 2018.  To achieve this vision, we need to embrace the entrepreneurial instincts of students in Irish universities - for them to ask not, ‘what company do I want to work for?’ but, ‘what company do I want to create?’

“The Blackstone LaunchPad programme will foster an entrepreneurial mind-set in students across the country and equip the entrepreneurs of today with the expertise to become the employers of tomorrow.  Very importantly, this programme supports, encourages and enables our most driven young people to build their futures and pursue innovation in Ireland.  The future of business development and international investment in Ireland is closely related to our international links with the world and I am proud that Ireland was chosen as the first global expansion of this highly successful programme.”

“Ireland’s young people are driven, curious, and innovative thinkers – all qualities necessary to be successful entrepreneurs,” said Blackstone’s Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman. “Blackstone LaunchPad will enable these students to develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, and build strong enterprises rooted in Ireland, and further strengthen economic activity across the country.” 

Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, said: “We want our students to participate in this type of activity, so that they learn prior to graduation the potential they have and gain the confidence to go out into the world to shape their own futures. At NUI Galway we have a thriving ecosystem of student innovation and entrepreneurship.   Through the Blackstone LaunchPad program our students will now have access to an even more powerful international network, based on this national partnership between our three universities.  I’m delighted to acknowledge the vision and funding of Blackstone Charitable Foundation, with support from Galway University Foundation, to ensure that our students will develop their capacity for innovation and become the entrepreneurs of the future.”

Blackstone LaunchPad is modelled after a successful programme developed at the University of Miami in 2008, which has generated 6,000 ventures and drawn over 10,000 participants since its establishment. Each regional programme established through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is linked, drawing ideas and best practices from across 15 campuses, giving student entrepreneurs in Ireland access to an international community of over 350,000 of their peers and expert advisers. 

Funding for this programme is made possible through The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, which seeks to support the development of ecosystems for aspiring entrepreneurs creating the high-growth ventures that are known to spark economic growth. Due to the early success of Blackstone LaunchPad following its implementation in Michigan, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was recognized by President Obama’s “Startup America” Initiative and pledged to expand the programme to five new regions over five years. That pledge was fulfilled by the program’s earlier expansion to California.

-Ends-

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