When the private equity firm the Blackstone Group went public in 2007, CEO and cofounder Stephen Schwarzman walked away with over $675 million in cash in addition to shares worth just under $8 billion. That year, Schwarzman and the firm’s employees put in for a total of $150 million to establish the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, and ever since then, the foundation has had its eye on nurturing entrepreneurship and growing businesses around the world. One of its backbone programs for doing so is the Blackstone LaunchPad.
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LaunchPad was founded by the University of Miami around 2008 as one answer to the recession and lack of jobs for college grads. The program is described as “an intensive program for undergraduates whose best shot at meaningful work was to start their own businesses.” Blackstone was impressed by the program’s initial success and modeled its version of LaunchPad after the University of Miami’s. The Blackstone LaunchPad program has since advised over 300 ventures, helped launch over 60 new business, and created over 100 jobs.
Since it was established, Blackstone has limited its LaunchPad program to specific states in the U.S., including Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Montana, and California. That’s no longer the case, as the foundation just made the jump into international waters.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced a three-year, €2 million grant to establish a LaunchPad partnership between National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Cork. The partnership will connect the three campuses with business computing and local entrepreneurs to help students develop the necessary skills and networks to become successful entrepreneurs. Right now, it’s estimated that Blackstone LaunchPad has the potential to give birth to 1,500 new ventures and 3,700 new jobs in Ireland over the next five years.
Overall, the Blackstone Charitale Foundation continues to keep most of its funding dollars within the United States, but judging by its last few grants, it looks like it’s becoming increasingly interested in venturing overseas. Just ahead of its €2 million LaunchPad grant, the foundation announced a $150,000 give to TechnoServe to support a business accelerator program aimed at growing women-led business in Mumbai, India
Stephen Schwarzman once said that the foundation is "looking for innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can contribute to the economic rebuilding of the nation.” Now, it’s looking like the foundation is at least exploring the possibility of contributing to the growth of a few international economies as well.