What elements are necessary for successful college-based entrepreneurship education? The annual ranking by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review is based on a survey that includes more than 60 metrics, including the number and reach of mentorship, scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies, and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.
To help universities expand beyond the traditional classroom-based curriculum, the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars network runs LaunchPad Lift, a 10-week, biannual, virtual mentoring program for student entrepreneurs.
Nominated by LaunchPad network campus directors, Lift participants are selected based on the stage of company, funding and revenue generated to date, need and interest for mentoring, and quality of the student teams. In addition to Q&A video calls with Techstars subject matter experts on a variety of topics critical to the success of startups, including key performance indicators and goal setting, fundraising, product development, and sales and marketing, each student team also receives a $10,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
“After running LaunchPad Lift twice in 2019, we’ve learned important lessons on the value and impact of the program,” said Courtney Gras, LaunchPad Community Director at Techstars. “With these insights and continuous feedback from student entrepreneurs, mentors, and campus directors across the network, we’re confident this will be the best Lift program we’ve ever run in conjunction with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.”
Once a year, both the spring and summer Lift participants attend a culminating showcase event. At this event these top collegiate entrepreneurs will compete in front of potential investors, Blackstone executives, and Techstars accelerator managing directors and program managers for up to $50,000 provided by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
According to Jamika Martin, founder of ROSEN Skincare and LaunchPad Lift Summer 2019 participant, “Learning from experts in the field and growing your network are definitely the best ways I’ve been able to grow my brand, and the LaunchPad Lift program did just that. There is always so much to learn, no matter what stage you are at. Each week in this program helped me move my brand and myself as a leader forward in a meaningful way.”
Meet the Spring 2020 LaunchPad Lift Ventures:
- Credit Starter (University of Southern California) – A fintech startup that helps students build their credit score through their tuition.
- Electrip (University of Texas, Austin) – Door to door transportation company scheduling rides at any time in your own Tesla.
- Fenu Health (University College Cork) – Feed additive manufacturer addressing equine stomach issues.
- Hashing Systems (University of Texas, Dallas) – Management and deployment of decentralized applications on various protocols (ex: currently focusing on Hedera Hashgraph).
- Bounce Insights (Trinity Dublin) – Consumer insights platform and feedback software.
- Craitor (University of California, San Diego) – Portable expeditionary 3D printer developer for manufacturing military-grade parts in the field.
- SkyPaws (Texas A&M) – Manufacturer of a wireless, real-time pet health vitals monitoring device post-surgical procedure.
- CLLCTVE (Syracuse) – Platform providing brands exclusive access to local Gen Z consumers, and Gen Z content creators.
- SuiteSocial (University of California, Berkeley) – SaaS startup empowering Gen Z content creators and influencers in the passion economy.
- Farmented Foods (Montana State University) – CPG company fermenting “ugly vegetables” to create four consumer-friendly condiments and snacks.
Multiple teams in this LaunchPad Lift cohort participated in the fall 2019 LaunchPad Propel event in New York city. In fact, Credit Starter took first place, and $25,000, and CLLCTVE took second place, and $10,000, in the Propel pitch competition. The spring 2020 LaunchPad Lift program will run for ten weeks from February 3rd until April 6th and will culminate with a final event at the Blackstone offices in New York.