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Cornell, SU part of group to use grant for entrepreneurship partnership

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University, Syracuse University (SU), and three additional schools will use grant funding for a partnership focusing on entrepreneurship as a career option for students.


The Blackstone Charitable Foundation on Oct. 23 announced a three-year, $4.5 million grant to help the schools provide more than 180,000 students, regardless of major, with venture coaches and an “entrepreneurial support system,” Cornell University said in a news release issued Friday.


Besides Cornell and SU, New York University (NYU), and two SUNY schools — University at Albany and the University at Buffalo — are also involved in the partnership.



The Blackstone Group, LP (NYSE: BX) is a New York City–based global investment firm, according to Yahoo Finance. The firm’s employees founded the Blackstone Charitable Foundation in 2007, according to the Cornell news release.


Blackstone LaunchPad, the foundation’s campus-entrepreneurship program, 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,” the release said.


With a physical presence on each university campus and access to the Blackstone LaunchPad’s global technology platform, the program has the “potential” to generate some 4,000 new ventures and 6,000 new jobs across New York over the next five years.


New York’s universities have “always” drawn some of the country’s “most driven and talented” young people, said Tony James, president and COO of Blackstone.

“The Blackstone LaunchPad program will provide these students with the tools to build strong enterprises rooted in the state and connected to a global network of entrepreneurs,” said James.


The Cornell news release also included remarks from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.), who spoke during the grant announcement at NYU.


“The more we can do to encourage young New Yorkers with an idea to turn that idea into a viable business, the better. Blackstone’s LaunchPad program, with this new grant, will provide the tools that young entrepreneurs at our premier universities need to succeed and create the next generation of New York businesses  … The LaunchPad program will help tap into that entrepreneurial spirit; it will be a tremendous resource for our students, the participating universities and for our economy,” said Schumer.


Regional programs established through the foundation draw ideas from across 21 campuses and give student entrepreneurs in New York access to an international community of more than 500,000 peers and advisers.


“Cornell has a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem across many different disciplines. Blackstone LaunchPad will be a critical new addition,” Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett said in the school’s news release. “We want to inspire, enable and accelerate our students along the entrepreneurial path, and I cannot wait for Blackstone LaunchPad at Cornell to be up and running.”


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