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Spelman College Joins Blackstone LaunchPad Partnership With Atlanta Historically Black Colleges to Expand Access to Entrepreneurship

July 1, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA, July 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Spelman College, along with Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College, announces a new partnership with Blackstone LaunchPad to make the development of entrepreneurial skills more accessible to students in the Atlanta University Center Consortium.

Developed with support from United Negro College Fund Inc., the largest scholarship provider for students of color, Blackstone LaunchPad’s expansion to Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta is the latest step in the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s commitment to increase career mobility for a more diverse set of students through entrepreneurship training and skill-building.

“Spelman’s goal is to provide our students with the competitive edge they need to excel in any field,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “Providing access to entrepreneurial insight, training and mentoring through high caliber partnerships, Blackstone LaunchPad is an innovative program our scholars will benefit from for years to come. We are grateful for the investment in our students by Blackstone LaunchPad, which aligns with our new Center for Black Entrepreneurship, and will result in diversifying the pipeline of owners and leaders.”

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The partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $40 million, five-year commitment to expand Blackstone LaunchPad from 30 to 75 colleges and universities that have a majority diverse population or serve under-resourced communities. Blackstone LaunchPad will facilitate access to a global network of mentors and advisors, deliver proven startup resources and offer unique virtual and physical convening opportunities. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in pitch competitions, fellowships and live speaker series.

“We are thrilled to be supporting these three great schools and their students through Blackstone LaunchPad,” said Amy Stursberg, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “This partnership is an exciting step in our broader commitment to introduce students from underrepresented communities to entrepreneurial skillsets that are applicable to all future career paths.”

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The initiative began with a $5 million expansion in January 2021 to six campuses designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions in the University of Texas system that demonstrated a commitment to increasing diversity in student entrepreneurship.

“This an exciting venture that opens opportunities for our HBCU campuses and their students. We are especially pleased that Blackstone LaunchPad will now be available for students at the Atlanta Universities Consortium schools,” said UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D. “We look forward to continuing our partnership and introducing Blackstone LaunchPad to additional HBCUs across the United States. Advancements like this enable our students to make their talents grow exponentially and open doors they could never have dreamed of even peering through previously.”

With support from partners including Future Founders, UNCF, Startup Grind and Techstars, Blackstone LaunchPad is currently available to over 900,000 students at 30 schools in the United States and Ireland.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country’s leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 14th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit Spelman College.

About Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has led Blackstone’s philanthropic initiatives since 2007. We are driven by the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and providing access to opportunity in the communities in which we live and work. Blackstone LaunchPad helps college students learn entrepreneurial skills for success to build thriving companies and careers, with an increasing commitment to schools that have a majority diverse student population or engage with under-represented communities. BX Connects engages Blackstone’s global employee base to partner with non-profits, supporting their missions through volunteer opportunities, fundraising, board service, and other charitable activities.

About UNCF
United Negro College Fund is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.

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SOURCE Spelman College