By Andrew Skerritt
The Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry’s (SBI) Interdisciplinary Center for Creativity and Innovation (ICCI) has partnered with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to create and enhance the entrepreneurial mindset at FAMU and in the surrounding Southside community.
LaunchPad is a grant-funded program awarded to FAMU’s ICCI initiative that provides entrepreneurial training, skill building, career development and networking opportunities to FAMU students, alumni, and local and regional partners. Students can use the program components to learn more about starting and maintaining a business, network with entrepreneurial mentors in the field, participate in conferences, workshops, and other learning sessions, and much more. Students can also strengthen their pitch performance through participation in competitions and hackathons and earn prizes that can be used towards funding their businesses.
“The first step in breaking entrepreneurial barriers is to bring entrepreneurship to those who need it most by meeting students where they are,” said Maura Pally, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Blackstone. “There is no better place to start than right on their campuses.”
FAMU is joining Florida State University and three other Florida colleges and universities in Blackstone’s $5 million expansion of their LaunchPad network to Florida, becoming part of a robust network that includes 50 colleges and universities nationally and services over 1 million students.
“Florida A&M University is committed to the success of our students in the classroom and beyond,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “LaunchPad will provide an incredible set of experiences to FAMU students and empower them with entrepreneurial skills that bring great benefit to themselves and stoke economic development in their communities.”
SBI Dean Shawnta Friday-Stroud,Ph.D., said she appreciates the support from the LaunchPad initiative to “complement the entrepreneurial ecosystem resources that Florida A&M University provides for our students and faculty.”
“The entrepreneurial training that our students will receive will enable them to make greater contributions to the economic development in our communities,” Friday-Stroud added.