Blackstone LaunchPad partners on two-part series, the Funding Roadmap

The Blackstone LaunchPad is pleased to join The Innovation Connectors ( to present a two-part series on Startup and Growth Capital. The agenda is:

  • The Funding Roadmap – Part I: Startup Capital, Tuesday, September 26, Syracuse Technology Garden, 235 Harrison St., Syracuse, NY
  • The Funding Roadmap – Part II: Accelerate your Growth with Impact Capital, Monday, October 2, CNY Biotech Accelerator, 841 E. Fayette St., Syracuse, NY

Explore funding opportunities from startup to acceleration stages with experts who will introduce various funding resources, loan programs offered by the U.S. SBA, alternative financing such as the Excelsior Growth Fund, and state programs/tax credits available to young businesses.  A panel of equity investors will give an inside look at what’s in their mindset when it comes to impact investing. Participants will also hear from founders who have “been there and done that,” with tips on how to approach funders. There is a nominal registration fee.  Register at:

The Blackstone LaunchPad is a founding member of The Syracuse Innovation Connectors, a consortium that includes leaders from government, business, incubation, acceleration, and resource organizations across Central NY.  The group’s goal is to build alliances, collaborate on events, and understand the strength of our region’s resources to better assist our next generation entrepreneurs.  See the list of members here.

For more information including the full agenda, see The Funding Roadmap event webpage at

Blackstone LaunchPad to help more startups through new software platform, Ideator

Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow David Fox ’19 (left) with Syracuse University Ideator Brand Manager Quentin Rosso ’18 (right)

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is pleased to offer a free new software platform for faculty, staff, student, and alumni entrepreneurs.  Ideator is a startup management tool created by the Blackstone Entrepreneurship Initiative (a project of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation), working with Ideator, a software company based in San Francisco.

Ideator is now being used by the 20 universities that are part of the Blackstone LaunchPad global network.  It features easy to use tools for team building, access to collections of on-line resources, and ways to connect with mentors and investors, as well as a roadmap for managing a venture from ideation to commercialization. Users can complete personal profiles and detail their entrepreneurial interests, skills, and pursuits. As they progress through commercialization, they can then showcase their ideas, form teams, find subject matter experts, and connect with investors who are interested in collegiate startups.

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is strongly encouraging adoption of the new software platform. To spur adoption, the Foundation is hosting a campus competition through October 6, challenging LaunchPad programs to complete the largest number of profiles. The top three institutions will receive cash awards of $15,000 for 1st place, $10,000 for 2nd place, and $5,000 for 3rd place.

In 2010, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced its Entrepreneurship Initiative, a global commitment to advance entrepreneurial thought and activity in the United States and abroad. Through Blackstone LaunchPad, Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge, and Blackstone Innovation Grants, the Foundation encourages and empowers the entrepreneurs who create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad opened in April 2016 in Bird Library.  Since then, it has served nearly 2,000 students from 45 countries, with 50% women entrepreneurs.  The LaunchPad is an experiential entrepreneurship program open to faculty, staff, alumni, and students, offering coaching, ideation, and venture creation support.

Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow Quentin Rosso, ’18 Whitman, is Syracuse University’s Ideator brand manager. He has developed an outreach campaign and is charged with spearheading adoption across campus.  Rosso is available for questions about the platform, as well as demos of how to use the software to help grow a venture. Sign up in the LaunchPad or online at To make an appointment for more information or to discuss your venture idea, email

$5,000 Impact Prize for social entrepreneurship debuts this fall

Gisela von Dran

A new Impact Prize initiative launches this week at Syracuse University. The program will support student entrepreneur teams that devise innovative and implementable solutions to economic or social problems, or civic challenges.  Coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, the Impact Prize is supported through a gift to SU Libraries from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program.

The Impact Prize consists of two components:  an Impact Generator workshop series, and an Impact Prize Competition.  The challenge is open to graduate and undergraduate Syracuse University students from all academic areas.

The Impact Prize kicks off with an event at 3 p.m. on September 22 in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, 114 Bird Library.  The event will feature an overview of the program and remarks by Dr. von Dran.  It will also open the on-line application process, which runs through October 27.  Twelve teams from across campus will be selected to pitch at a November 14 competition as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and vie for $5,000 in awards to be allocated to the most promising, feasible solutions.

To jumpstart creative thinking about pressing social entrepreneurship challenges, Impact Generator workshops will be held on September 28-29 and October 5-6 at Bird Library. The goal of the workshops is to inspire students to think about big challenges in these areas, understand emerging issues and trends, and begin to brainstorm ideas for solutions. These interactive sessions will be led by local nonprofit leaders who are change-makers in:

  • Energy, the environment, and sustainable solutions
  • Arts, culture and education
  • Community revitalization, poverty, and empowerment
  • Healthcare, nutrition, and human services

The competition is not limited to the categories covered in the workshops, but is an open call for products, services, or technologies that can become practical and sustainable solutions to pressing global or local societal challenges.

The Impact Prize is funded through a personal gift from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program, who has a special interest in entrepreneurship. Before joining the iSchool, Dr. von Dran served as an assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management. She is the wife of Raymond von Dran, who was dean of the iSchool from 1995 until his death in 2007.  Shortly after, Gisela established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund at Syracuse University, and directed that fund to support the RvD initiative which funds the iPrize student entrepreneurship competition each spring.  The new Impact Prize competition will serve as a gateway to the annual iPrize competition, as well as other global social entrepreneurship competitions on the Syracuse University campus, such as the Hult Prize.

Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, Kennedy Patlan ‘18, a triple major in Advertising, Citizenship and Civic Engagement, and Women’s and Gender Studies,, is managing the project. The Engagement Scholar position was created as a part of the LaunchPad’s goal to grow social enterprise ventures across the campus innovation ecosystem.

For more information, see

Kennedy Patlan named first Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar

Kennedy Patlan ’18, a triple major in Advertising, Citizenship and Civic Engagement, and Women’s and Gender Studies, has been named the first Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar at Syracuse University. The Engagement Scholar position was created as a part of the LaunchPad’s goal to grow social enterprise ventures across the campus.

Through her time at Syracuse University, Patlan has looked for ways to merge public and private sectors for impact. After conducting research on the relationship between nonprofits, technical fields, and sustainability, she is interested in building programs that serve as a campus-community collaborative. She has been involved with an array of organizations such as Hill Communications, the POSSE Foundation, and the Syracuse Philanthropy Council. She is a Resident Advisor and a current Remembrance Scholar. Kennedy will develop the outreach, branding, marketing, recruiting, and organizational aspects for the first annual Impact Program.

As the first Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, Patlan will provide peer mentoring of student ventures, with a special focus on social enterprise and civic ventures.  The goal is to encourage more students to think about developing for-good, not-for-profit and for-profit enterprises as part of entrepreneurial landscape. Patlan is helping develop a special business plan competition for entrepreneurs who are developing ventures that serve a broader social purpose.  She will be helping coordinate the upcoming Impact Prize and Hult Prize competitions, as well as organizing a series of “Impact Workshops to explore topics related to social entrepreneurship, and assisting with events for Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 13-17.

The Blackstone LaunchPad, part of Syracuse University Libraries, is a campus-based experiential entrepreneurship program open to students, alumni, faculty and staff.  It offers ideation, coaching, and venture creation support, along with co-working space in Bird Library.

Learn more about the Blackstone LaunchPad global network at

“Empowering the Startup Dream”: A workshop on global entrepreneurship

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University has teamed up with a number of campus and community partners to present “Empowering the Startup Dream,” a half-day workshop focused on international student entrepreneurship. The event will take place on Friday, September 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 114 Bird Library.

Immigrants launch more than a quarter of all U.S. based businesses and have founded 51 percent of U.S. billion dollar startups.  However, the process of pursuing a venture in the United States can be very challenging, particularly for international students and New Americans.

Minhao Chen G’12 will keynote the workshop and share his insights on how to pursue a dream and his own entrepreneurial journey. He was recently selected as one of the 2015 Top Ten Outstanding Innovation Figures of China for his disruptive food startup Shi Quan She Mei Co., Ltd.

A panel of experts on immigration and business law will address the complex issues associated with the visa landscape and regulatory environment in the United States. Panelists include:

  • David DiMaggio – Program Manager, CASE, Center for Science & Technology, Syracuse University
  • David Reed – President, Reed Business Law
  • Andrea Godfread-Brown – Immigration Attorney, Brown and Palumbo
  • Anna Putintseva – Immigration and Business Attorney, Bousquet Holstein PLLC
  • David J. Wilks – Immigration Attorney, Miller Mayer
  • Caterina Ranieri – Immigration Attorney, Bousquet Holstein PLLC
  • Patricia Burak – Slutzker Center for International Services, Syracuse University
  • Jennifer Gavilondo – Associate General Counsel , Syracuse University
  • Michael Stanczyk – Corporate Attorney, Lynn, D’Elia, Temes and Stanczyk
  • Josh Aviv – Founder and CEO, SparkCharge
  • Tom Garden –President and Owner, Syrasoft
  • Daniel Rickman – Branch Manager/District International Trade Office, U.S. Small Business Administration

For further details, visit, To register for the workshop, email