Blackstone Charitable Foundation Awards $1.4 Million Grant to Expand Entrepreneurship Initiative to Florida

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $1.4 million grant to expand the Blackstone LaunchPad program to central Florida.

Awarded as part of a five-year, $50 million Entrepreneurship Initiative launched by the foundation to spark economic growth in communities nationwide, the grant will be used by the University of Central Florida to provide students with access to entrepreneurial resources and support services that can help them turn their ideas into viable, job-creating companies. Since the program launched at the University of Miami in 2008, Blackstone LaunchPad has generated more than a hundred start-up ventures, helped create over two hundred new jobs, and attracted nearly two thousand participants.

Blackstone LaunchPad at UCF will foster connections among the university and the local business community to create an environment that nurtures young entrepreneurs and provides them with the skills and networks needed to succeed. To that end, the Blackstone Group also plans to invest in several of the companies in its portfolio with operations in central Florida, including Hilton Worldwide, Performance Food Group, Michaels, and SeaWorld.

"Entrepreneurship is the single most effective way to spur economic growth and job creation," said Blackstone co-founder, chair, and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman. "We must all play a role in nurturing talent and through Blackstone LaunchPad... [and] foster new generations of entrepreneurs who will transform local economies by creating new and innovative companies."