How University of California Students Are Gaining More Entrepreneurship Opportunities

By Annie Baker ● October 6, 2019
  • The University of California and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation recently announced a $5 million expansion of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars

The University of California and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation recently announced an expansion to a program that equips students with tools and resources for advancing entrepreneurship and innovation. The $5 million expansion of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars program is going to give UC campuses access to additional resources, opportunities, and mentorships for students and recent graduates across a wide range in disciplines and experience levels.

UC President Janet Napolitano pointed out that UC is the “powerful engine behind California’s global leadership on innovation.”

“We take great pride, especially, in our efforts to break down barriers and increase opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs. We are excited to bring LaunchPad — and its valuable resources, opportunities and network — to UC campuses to further embed the ‘startup culture’ into the fabric of our campus communities,” added Napolitano in a statement.

UC students who are interested in entrepreneurship can take advantage of LaunchPad events, coaching, and an exceptional talent network to help them succeed in their entrepreneurial ventures thus moving groundbreaking research out of the laboratory or classroom and into the marketplace.

The program has been operating at UCLA since 2014 and it reaches over 8,000 students and serves more than 800 startup ventures and it facilitated 3,000 startup consulting meetings. With the Blackstone Charitable Foundation grant, eight more UC campuses will now be able to leverage the opportunities from LaunchPad.

“With its unique network of colleges and universities, California has a rich history of fostering entrepreneurship and a bright future for the next generation of entrepreneurs,” added Jonanthan Gray, the president and chief operating officer of Blackstone. “The LaunchPad program has been transformational for students who draw on its resources to grow new businesses and invest in their communities. We are proud to partner with the University of California system in expanding this important programming to more students.”

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation had established LaunchPad in 2010. And it partnered with Techstars eight years later in order to provide participants with access to their network of more than 10,000 mentors, invitations to signature such as Startup Week and Startup Weekend, and resourceful startup services.

Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars have helped student entrepreneurs navigate the complex landscape of fundraising, job placement, and even recruitment. And LaunchPad achieved success across 18 campuses in the U.S. and Ireland thus providing nearly 500,000 students with access to resources, personal connections, and professional networks they need to get their companies off the ground. And to date, LaunchPad graduates have gone on to incorporate close to 9,000 businesses that have raised nearly $200 million in investments.

Plus LaunchPad amplifies UC’s flourishing entrepreneurship efforts for students — which currently include 43 incubators or accelerators, numerous competitions, entrepreneurial training academies, and boot camps that support students through the startup stages of discovery, validation, commercialization, and scaled growth.