Natalie Walsh, Executive Director, Blackstone LaunchPad, NUI Galway. Photo: Martina Regan
Sep 28 2017 Posted: 14:59 IST

NUI Galway has this week announced the appointment of Natalie Walsh as Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad. Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus-based experiential entrepreneurship program open to students, alumni, staff and faculty; offering coaching, ideation and venture creation support.

Blackstone LaunchPad is modelled on a successful program that originated at the University of Miami and was further expanded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “Blackstone LaunchPad is an integral part of the vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem here at NUI Galway. Natalie has been instrumental in its success to date, which has seen the LaunchPad work with over 3,500 individual members of the NUI Galway community.  In her new role as Executive Director, Natalie will undoubtedly increase the positive impact the Launchpad has on entrepreneurial activities and ideation on campus.”

Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to have Natalie assume this leadership role with Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway. We are grateful for her contributions to our growing global network to date and look forward to seeing Blackstone LaunchPad’s continued success at the University as Natalie takes the helm.”

Prior to taking up the role of Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad, Natalie has worked as the Programme Manager of this initiative in addition to being the administrative lead on the original proposal which saw Blackstone LaunchPad choose NUI Galway as its first international site outside of the US.

Natalie brings a decade of experience working in the technology and software space in addition to over 10 years’ experience working in senior roles at NUI Galway including leading the EU Horizon 2020 funding team which was announced as the highest performing Higher Education Institute in Ireland for the programme in 2015. She has worked across the public and private sectors as a mentor, program developer and lecturer.

In 2016, Natalie was a finalist in the WMB Boots Empowering Women Awards.  Last week saw the announcement of the 2017 finalists and her work within the Blackstone LaunchPad programme has again been acknowledged for empowering female students on campus through a variety of supports and initiatives. The award ceremony will take place in the Shelbourne Hotel on the 2 October.

A graduate of NUI Galway, with a Masters in Strategy, Innovation and People Management and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours Degree), Natalie is also studying for a PhD in Entrepreneurship at Trinity College Dublin.

Blackstone LaunchPad is co-funded by the Galway University Foundation and Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway: http://www.nuigalway.ie/blackstonelaunchpad/

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