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New Center Introduces Entrepreneurship to Wider Population at UT Austin

The Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Austin will be a cross-campus effort to introduce entrepreneurship as a career path for all students.

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Logo for the Blackstone LaunchPad that is superimposed on a background of the university campus

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin entrepreneurial community today celebrated the opening of the Blackstone LaunchPad at The University of Texas at Austin, an interdisciplinary, cross-campus effort to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path for the university’s diverse student population.

Created with a $1 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Austin will provide students the skills they need, through individualized coaching and support, to start a company or fully realize an idea.

“Our graduates need to have an entrepreneurial mindset whether they start a company or not,” said the grant’s principal investigator, Dean of Undergraduate Studies Brent Iverson. “This unique partnership between the School of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of the Vice President for Research will go a long way toward involving all members of the campus community in entrepreneurship.”

The April 12 event marks the realization of months of planning to create a physical space for the program, which will be housed in the heart of campus on the main floor of the Flawn Academic Center. The location will provide a central hub for students, faculty members and staff members to meet, exchange insights and develop their ideas. The LaunchPad will work with and support the many other established entrepreneurial programs at the university and in the city of Austin.

The new director of the university’s LaunchPad initiative is Cristal Glangchai, a scientist and startup CEO who received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the university.

“Entrepreneurship is for everyone. Whether you’re studying music, history, or biology, entrepreneurship enables you to apply what you are learning to the real world, and empowers you to create your future,” said Glangchai. “Our goal is to introduce UT students and the university community to entrepreneurship, help them develop entrepreneurial skills, and enable them to independently achieve success in whatever paths they pursue.”

The campus-based Blackstone entrepreneurship program, available to more than 630,000 students in the United States and internationally, funds centers like the new LaunchPad at UT Austin to help college students turn ideas into small businesses while supporting local economies.

Dan Jaffe, vice president for research and partner in the development of the university’s center, said: “Entrepreneurial skills are an important part of the toolkit with which every UT student should leave our campus. The Blackstone program allows all students to become involved in the vibrant innovation environment we have on our campus. We’re grateful to the Blackstone Foundation for the support and for the opportunity that this program presents for our students.”

For more information, contact: Luz Cristal Glangchai, Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Austin, 512-789-8656, lcglangchai@austin.utexas.edu.