I’m an honorary ANTrepreneur!
I had the honor and privilege of joining Ryan Foland, David Ochi and their awesome students at the Blackstone Launchpad at UCIrvine! It’s an amazing place. It is also one of only three California locations which are the final expansion of a campus entrepreneurship program called Blackstone LaunchPad which is already underway in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Montana. I was invited to meet and speak with the students and it was a super fun time. It’s very exciting to see the brilliant and enthusiastic minds that are, even now, charting our future! You can even see 4 minutes of our conversation here: http://antrepreneur.uci.edu/videos/lunchtime-launchpad-john-bates-and-how-create-winning-pitch/
It’s modeled after a successful project developed at the University of Miami in 2008 that has generated 1,413 business proposals, created 210 new jobs and drawn nearly 2,600 participants. Regional programs established through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation work together, pooling ideas and best practices from 11 campuses and giving student entrepreneurs in Southern California access to a national community of more than 350,000 peers and expert advisers.
The Antrepreneur Center will introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system. With a physical presence on each university campus, Blackstone LaunchPad has the potential to generate 500 or so new ventures in California over the next five years. “When you nurture talent and support aspiring entrepreneurs, you foster the creation of innovations that have the ability to shift paradigms,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, CEO and co-founder. “Through Blackstone LaunchPad, students have access to the right tools to take their ideas to market and to truly become successful entrepreneurs with their ventures rooted in California, ultimately strengthening local economies.” Funding comes from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s five-year, $50 million Entrepreneurship Initiative. Due to the early success of the program, the foundation was recognized by the White House and partnered with President Barack Obama’s Startup America Initiative. This expansion to Southern California fulfills its pledge to expand LaunchPad to five new regions over five years.
I think this kind of thing is becoming more and more important. The future doesn’t seem to bode well for people who just want to apply for a job and then work 9-5. As I travel all over the world I hear similar things from governments, associations and the business people I meet: Entrepreneurs are the future! We need Innovation and Creativity and people who are willing to start businesses! And, I think that’s a fantastic thing!