Blackstone LaunchPad Partners with NCCU to Provide Resources for Student Entrepreneurs

Posted October 18, 2022, 1:47PM

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is one of four historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) announced as new partner schools in the Blackstone LaunchPad network, thanks to a new $2 million commitment from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

This partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s previously announced commitment to providing $40 million dollars in support of entrepreneurial skill-building resources for underserved communities. Joining NCCU are Bowie State University, Morgan State University and North Carolina A&T University.

Blackstone LaunchPad partners with colleges to provide resources that support their entrepreneurial endeavors and career readiness.

The LaunchPad is facilitated by NCCU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED). CEED is NCCU’s campus-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem committed to creating a culture of creativity, innovation, and collaboration amongst students and faculty in support of business creation and economic development.

“The partnership between Blackstone Launchpad and NCCU CEED is critical to fulfilling CEED’s promise to be a champion for entrepreneurial activities within the university,” reflects Dr. Anthony Nelson, dean, NCCU School of Business. “This relationship grants us the ability to extend our resources by providing insight, guidance and support to students who aspire to own their own business.” CEED is a manifestation of the university’s Eagle Promise, which, in part, commits that students will have leadership development opportunities and will be career-ready upon their graduation.

One of the first events produced within this platform is the NCCU Blackstone Launchpad Ideas Competition, scheduled for Oct. 20, 2022 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the NCCU Student Center, Event Hall Four.

This competition encourages students from across campus – all disciplines are welcome – to present their business ideas and compete for cash prizes. A panel of entrepreneurs will serve as judges for the competition as students present ideas within four categories: Social & Climate Impact, Health & Life Sciences, Consumer Products & Services, and General. Students will be asked to devise a lean business plan, present their plan via a poster presentation, then advance to the final round and an opportunity to pitch their business idea for a chance to win $1,000. Finalists from the competition will go on to the national Blackstone Launchpad Competition and an opportunity to win $10,000. The Oct. 20 competition is open to the public.

Interim executive director of CEED, Collis Arrick, believes that the “partnership with Blackstone will help further NCCU’s commitment to entrepreneurship. Being able to curate events like the Ideas Competition provides our students the platform to demonstrate their enduring entrepreneurial spirit.”

To inquire about attending the NCCU Blackstone Launchpad Ideas Competition, please write to ceed@nccu.edu.

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