Grant allows Wayne State to debut The LaunchPad
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation will announced a multi-million dollar gift for the New
Economy Initiative in Metro Detroit tomorrow as part of a much bigger financial
commitment to help foster entrepreneurship and economic recovery in communities hardest
hit by the global economic crisis.
Wayne State University and Walsh College will split the money to establish the Blackstone
LaunchPad, which will encourage and support entrepreneurship for local college students
and recent graduates. The 10 foundations behind the New Economy Initiative will also add a
significant grant to provide central coordination services and an evaluation tool to measure
the success of the project.
"The Blackstone Launch Pad program at Wayne State University and Walsh College is a
tremendous step forward in fostering entrepreneurship, a critical part of the economic
revitalization of southeast Michigan," Dave Egner, executive director of the New Economy
Initiative, said in a prepared statement. "The New Economy Initiative supports
opportunities, like the Blackstone Launch Pad, which focus on developing entrepreneurial
ecosystems, capitalizing on existing resources, and developing a solid workforce with the
hope that these opportunities will create a more diversified, knowledge-driven economy."
The idea is to foster entrepreneurship that will serve as the basis for a growing, diversified
economy based in 21st Century business models. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation
plans to make multi-million grants from its commitment.
The Blackstone LaunchPad will employ a program first started at the University of Miami in
2008 that worked to foster entrepreneurship through higher education.
The program promotes entrepreneurial thinking and activity among undergraduate,
graduate students, and new alumni. In its first two years at the University of Miami, the
program attracted 1,000 students and alumni who created 45 new businesses and 102 new
It accomplished this through providing practical skills, seasoned advice, and professional
contacts. The same tactics will be employed at Wayne State University and Walsh College.
Source: The Blackstone Charitable Foundation
Writer: Jon Zemke