Global Game Jam Rides Wave to Success

game-jamSyracuse University students created ideas for new digital and analog games at Global Game Jam 2017, the world’s biggest game jam. Held in Bird Library on January 20-22, the event linked over two dozen local students with participants from six continents to create themed games.

The weekend-long event was powered by the Blackstone LaunchPad, in partnership with the Department of English (CAS), the Computer Art and Animation program in the Department of Transmedia (VPA), Information Technology and Services (ITS), the School of Information Studies, and the Syracuse University Libraries.

The theme of this year’s game jam was “Waves.” Teams created working prototypes of video, mobile, web-based, iOS/Android, board, card, tabletop, and other “wave-themed” games. They worked in the concept of waves from the perspective of science, art, technology, nature, and the built environment. They also embedded the concept at many levels of game creation, from audio, graphics, code, and gameplay, as well as thematic aspects.

At the conclusion of the jam, teams presented their game concepts to judges who are area professionals in the game industry.  Teams and their games were recognized in categories such as biggest blockbuster potential, most cinematic, best player interaction, and best platform game mechanic.

Judges included SU alumnus John Spatola ’07 (Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science) who is founder, owner, and CEO of Lake Effect Applications. He was joined by Lisa Spatola ’08 and Josh Burns, also from Lake Effect Applications, which creates mobile experiences for core gamers. Other judges were Angelo (AJ) Damiano ’18 (Whitman School of Management), founder of Power-Spike, a Syracuse University student startup in the game industry, and Glenn Allen G’01, who is an expert in software development and design.

Games by SU students were uploaded on the official website,, to be shared with more than 36,000 jammers in 702 sites in 95 countries. More than 7,000 new games were created worldwide that weekend by artists, musicians, coders, designers, writers, producers, and other creative talent. Game concepts spanned desktop PCs, handheld touch screens, eye-tracking, virtual reality, physical electronics, and paper-and-cardboard tabletop games. All of the games produced in the event are open source and can be accessed on-line and played at

The event, organized and coordinated by Syracuse University’s Games Studies Research Group, brought together two new SU Libraries’ programs, the Digital Scholarship Space (DSS) and the Blackstone LaunchPad. The DSS is a collaborative pilot project by Syracuse University ITS and the University Libraries, based in Bird Library, that provides students and faculty access to a variety of technologies for software design, gaming, data visualization, digital humanities projects, and digital mapping. The Blackstone LaunchPad is an experiential learning service center, connecting Syracuse University’s innovation ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Amanda Chou ’19 and Amos Cohen ’20 join Blackstone LaunchPad as first Global Media Fellows

Amanda Chou ’19 and Amos Cohen ’20 have joined the Blackstone LaunchPad team this semester as its first Global Media Fellows. They will assist with developing plans for student outreach and special events that increase the number of students engaging in entrepreneurship across campus, such as guest speakers, workshops, founder’s and funder’s forums, and idea competitions and pitch fests. They will work with the Blackstone LaunchPad Student Advisory Committee on special projects, and support cross-campus engagement with the Blackstone global network on network-wide campus challenges.

More importantly, they will help tell the stories of student entrepreneurs, with a perspective on ventures that are both cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural. Through the creation of videos, short features, social media, photo essays, and other marketing communications, they will help convey ideas and innovations created by students who are part of the Syracuse University entrepreneurship ecosystem. Both bring considerable talent and expertise to this role.

dsc_0032Chou is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public relations at the Newhouse School and political science at the College of Arts and Sciences. She is also Chief Marketing Officer for Thrive Projects, Inc., a Syracuse University student startup that has a global footprint, giving her experience in the startup world. Thrive’s fundamental mission to provide renewable energy solutions, sustainability education, and leadership and vocational training to vulnerable communities around the world. She was part of the Thrive team that represented Syracuse University at the prestigious Hult Prize competition. The Hult Prize is a crowdsourced platform for social good, named one of the top five ideas changing the world by Time Magazine, aimed at launching disruptive and catalytic social ventures to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges.

dsc_0039Amos Cohen, from Tel-Aviv, is a seasoned entrepreneur who has served in leadership military positions with the Israeli Defense Force before coming to Syracuse University. His experience has produced a solid skill set rooted in team building, strategic planning, and problem solving. After leaving the military, Cohen took on a management role with several small businesses, before founding his own venture, Captur. That experience gave him insight into developing prototypes, strategizing marketing plans, and engaging with operations. Cohen is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in entrepreneurship and marketing management. He also holds a graphic design certification from Shenkar College, and was a participant in the starTAU Entrepreneurship Club, which is part of the Tel Aviv University Entrepreneurship Center.

Cohen has been an active member of the Blackstone Launchpad since joining the Syracuse community in fall 2016. He was an integral part of planning the first Global Entrepreneurship Week at Syracuse University, a weeklong celebration with 30 events across campus, and he spoke at a panel on globalism from an international student perspective. Cohen is also a Renee Crown Honors Program scholar.

Chou and Cohen join Yong Zhang “Lawrence” Lin ’19 and Quentin Rene Marcel Rosso ’19, who were named inaugural Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellows in fall 2016.

To connect with any of the LaunchPad Global Fellows, e-mail



Syracuse University partners to host Global Game Jam, January 20 – 22 in Bird Library


Syracuse University’s Bird Library will serve as a location for Global Game Jam® (#SUGGJ17), the world’s largest game jam (game creation) event, taking place on the weekend of January 20-22, 2017. University and community members are invited to collaborate, create, and present new game ideas to the global community. Participants will generate ideas for digital and analog games, pitch those ideas to one another, and form teams to work on a project, all in the course of a single weekend. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. Registration and details are available at

#SUGGJ17 begins Friday, January 20 at 4 p.m. in the Blackstone LaunchPad on the first floor of Bird Library, which is serving as the hospitality site. The kick-off will include a short video keynote at 5 p.m. and the announcement of this year’s theme. All sites worldwide are then challenged to create games based on that theme, to be completed over the weekend. In last year’s jam, over 600 locations in 93 countries created 6,866 games. Syracuse University game presentations will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Bird Library.

Jammers who are interested in games—whether video, mobile, web-based, iOS/Android, board, card, tabletop, or other types– are invited to attend, and compete to design innovative game concepts over a fun and food-fueled weekend. No coding or game design skills are required to participate and the event is open to those from all levels of experience from absolute beginner to seasoned developer.

Event hours will be Friday, January 20 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, January 21 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, January 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Development software and other tools like 3D printing will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops and other development devices.

There is a nominal registration fee of $10, which includes a t-shirt (while supplies last.) Seating is limited, so participants are encouraged to register early. Jammers must be over 18 or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

#SUGGJ17 is being organized and coordinated by Syracuse University’s Games Studies Research Group and brings together two new SU Libraries programs, the Digital Scholarship Space (DSS) and the Blackstone LaunchPad.

The DSS is a pilot project by Syracuse University ITS that provides students and faculty with access to a variety of technologies for software design, gaming, data visualization, digital humanities projects, and digital mapping. DSS is located in Bird Library to better reach and serve its audiences of students and scholars and has already been used by instructors and students for courses in multiple departments. It features a computer lab to facilitate the development of interactive, immersive, and mobile applications, projects, and games on emerging technologies and systems, including virtual, mixed, and augmented reality platforms.

The Blackstone LaunchPad, located on the first floor of Bird Library, is an experiential learning service center that places entrepreneurship at the center of academic life and connects Syracuse University’s innovation ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs. Supported through seed funding from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the LaunchPad offers one-stop connections to the university’s robust network of entrepreneurial resources, programs, and activities, along with specialized applications, tools, and training to help get startups off the ground and scale.  It can be used for ideation workshops, team and mentor meetings, co-working, networking events, coaching and training sessions, venture demos, and product launches, as well as other collaborative activities.

#SUGGJ17 is sponsored by the Computer Art and Animation program in the Department of Transmedia (VPA), the Department of English (CAS), the iSchool, SU ITS, and the Syracuse University Libraries.

“The Game Studies group has hosted the SU site for the GGJ several times before, and there have been some brilliant games made by teams which included folks with no game development experience,” says  assistant professor of English Chris Hanson, who has used the DSS to teach ETS 444: Theories of Game Studies. “The GGJ is a lot of fun and a great opportunity to try out making a game. If you like playing games, you will love making them!”

Learn more about the event and register at  More information about the global activities can be found at





Social Impact Investing: a Global Entrepreneurship Week event on November 16 at Bird Library

social-impact-investingSocial Impact investing is the topic of a featured panel at Global Entrepreneurship Week, Wednesday, November 16 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library. The event features (at left) Dennis M. DeLeo, President and Director, Venture Jobs Foundation, and Co-founder, Trillium Group, LLC. a Rochester-based venture capital and private equity firm; Christine Woodcock Dettor, Bousquet Holstein PLLC, and Director and Legal Advisor, Venture Jobs Foundation; and Peter Dunn, President and CEO, Central New York Community Foundation.

The event is targeted at aspiring entrepreneurs and civic leaders who want to make social change and are interested in exploring creative new financing models.  This is an opportunity to learn from Upstate experts about this emerging trend.

Global and local change can often come from mission-related investments made into ventures and organizations to generate social impact and financial return.  Learn how impact investing can help provide capital to address pressing social and civic challenges, and explore some core characteristics of impact investing.  Speakers are Upstate NY thought leaders in the impact investing field.

The Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses and serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of nearly $200 million. Since its inception, it has invested more than $150 million in the community.

The Venture Jobs Foundation makes impact investments in support of its charitable purpose, funding small businesses that will use social impact capital to create jobs in higher poverty neighborhoods. Micro and early growth lending programs create new job opportunities tied to our investments, with emphasis on lower and mid skill level employment. Small businesses are the prime driver of new job creation, which is directly correlated with alleviating poverty. VJF’s capital deployment, launched in the Rochester region, enhances quality of life and brings employment to the unemployed and underemployed in target neighborhoods. Impact investing, where associated profits support a sustainable and growing pool of capital directed to achieving social gains, is a powerful tool supporting a shared community interest in fighting poverty.

For more information about all events during Global Entrepreneurship Week at Syracuse, visit or e-mail




Powerhouse lineup across campus showcases Global Entrepreneurship Week

ge-weekGlobal Entrepreneurship Week at Syracuse University (GEW@SU) launches today, with more than two-dozen events featuring famous entrepreneurs, founders and funders, along with panel discussions, films, meetups and more. Many events feature well-known alumni and aspiring Syracuse University student entrepreneurs from around the world.

Coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, in collaboration with campus partners across many academic program areas, GEW@SU is part of 160-country festival that empowers entrepreneurs at all stages – from start-up to scale-up – and inspires innovators to take their first step.

Activities across campus this week will engage all parts of Syracuse’s entrepreneurship ecosystem – entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, resource providers, and more – to help faculty, staff and students explore and unleash their ideas, be self-starters and become innovators through start-up thinking.

The weeklong celebration is intended to inspire and educate nascent entrepreneurs about opportunities to advance their ideas and connect with campus and global leaders. A complete description of events is available at

All events are open to the community free of charge. Participants are encouraged to use social media to share their ideas and experiences this week using the hashtags #GEW2016, #GEWSyracuse, and #LaunchPadSYR, or handles @GEW2016, @GEWSyracuse, and @LaunchPadSYR.




Global Entrepreneurship Week launches with keynote by founder Carl Schramm

carl-schrammThe first-ever campuswide Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration kicks off at Syracuse University with a keynote by its founder, Carl Schramm, University Professor and former president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The opening event, “The History of Innovation,” will be Monday, Nov. 14, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons at Bird Library, followed by a networking reception in the Learning Commons.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a celebration of innovators who launch startups and bring ideas to life. For one week each November, the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship inspires people around the globe to explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. With activities ranging from large-scale competitions to intimate networking and meetups, lectures and panel discussions, film screenings and meetings with investors, aspiring entrepreneurs are introduced to possibilities and exciting opportunities.

Representatives from 37 countries were on hand when GEW was announced in 2007 by Jonathan Ortmans, president of GEW; Carl Schramm, former president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation; and Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. The event has now grown to 160 countries, 20,000 partners and 10 million people.

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is taking the lead organizing activities on campus, which include nearly two dozen events across campus from Nov. 14-18. The schedule of activities is online at:

Schramm is recognized internationally as a leading authority on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth. The Economist has referred to Schramm as the “evangelist of entrepreneurship.” His 2010 essay in Foreign Affairs initiated the study of expeditionary economics.  He has authored, co-authored or edited several books, including “Better Capitalism,” “Good Capitalism/Bad Capitalism,” “Inside Real Innovation,” “The Entrepreneurial Imperative” and “Controlling Healthcare Costs.” “Burn The Business Plan” is forthcoming in 2017.

Schramm’s academic career began at Johns Hopkins, where he founded the nation’s first research center on healthcare finance. He has founded or co-founded five companies, including HCIA and Greenspring Advisors, a merchant bank. Schramm also has served in major corporate roles, including EVP of Fortis (now Assurant) and CEO of Fortis Healthcare. He has served as a member of the Science Advisory Board of Mars Inc.; advised major corporations, including Ford, J&J and Apple; and served as a director of two public companies. He has been a member of the Singapore Prime Minister’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council. He chaired the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economy Advisory Committee and was a member of the President’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

He is a founding member of the Board of the International Intellectual Property Commercialization Council, a U.N. recognized NGO headquartered in Hong Kong; a trustee of the Templeton World Charity Foundation; and, a Council Member of the National Academies of Sciences’ Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable. He has served as a trustee of the Kauffman Foundation and the Milbank Memorial Fund.

Schramm is a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia and has served as a visiting scientist at MIT. He serves on the board of the Tusher Center for Intellectual Property at UC Berkeley. He was the inaugural Arthur & Carlyse Ciocca Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UC Davis in the academic years 2013 and 2014.

He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow, and a New York State Regents Graduate Fellow, and earned his law degree at Georgetown University. He held two consecutive Career Scientist Awards from NIH, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Medicine. He holds five honorary degrees and the University of Rochester’s George Eastman Medal. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Blackstone LaunchPad wins Fast Pitch Competition at Charleston Conference

fast-pitch-winnerThe Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries won the Fast Pitch Competition at the Charleston Conference on November 4. The innovation competition looks for compelling new ideas in academic library and information management. A committee of professional judges selected the winners from a national field of applicants.

Scott Warren, associate dean for research and scholarship at Syracuse University Libraries, pitched the Libraries’ idea. Warren oversees collections and subject librarian services, and recently participated in the 2016-2017 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Leadership Fellows Program.

The winning concept is a new entrepreneurial resource collection developed by librarians and staff, working with the Blackstone LaunchPad. The LaunchPad provides support for faculty, staff, students and alumni in areas related to startups, innovation, and entrepreneurship and is one of the first in the country located in a library. Supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, it is part of a network of 20 LaunchPads at major universities across the United States and the United Kingdom.

Warren developed the Fast Pitch proposal working with Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Blackstone LaunchPad executive director, Stephanie McReynolds, Syracuse University’s business, management and entrepreneurship librarian, and other library staff. The LaunchPad worked with Syracuse University faculty across many academic program areas to crowdsource the book collection that encompasses multi-disciplinary topics related to ideation, creativity, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and more. It is a unique collection, beyond volumes typically found in a business school collection. Making it more unique is that faculty across so many academic program areas participated in the curation process, providing stewardship and engagement with the project.

The collection will be installed in “book nodes” adjacent to the LaunchPad in Bird Library. Library staff worked on the acquisition, cataloging, and other service aspects of the project. Usage metrics will be tracked and tied to LaunchPad metrics, providing data analysis of how the new service is augmenting LaunchPad services. The collection has already been adopted as a suggested reading list by faculty teaching entrepreneurship and related subjects. LaunchPad students are planning to start a book club around the collection, to continue the interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Charleston Conference is an annual international gathering of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers, consultants, and vendors of library materials in Charleston, SC each November. The 2016 Theme is “Roll with the Times, or the Times Roll Over You.” The conference, which focuses on serial and book acquisition, began in 1980, and has grown from to more than 1,600 attendees annually.







E-Meetup for entrepreneurs in creative industries on October 27 in Blackstone LaunchPad

creativeThe Blackstone LaunchPad is hosting an E-Meetup for entrepreneurs in creative industries, Thursday, October 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  The event will be held in the first floor of Bird Library, starting with a sign-in reception at the LaunchPad, followed by a networking event in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons.

E-Meetups are an on-going series sponsored by the LaunchPad on topics of interest to entrepreneurs.  Events are monthly, rotate around campus, and feature different themes, topics, or trends that are of interest to many academic program areas.  The format includes:

  • Networking and refreshments
  • Student venture pitches
  • Visiting entrepreneurs and guest speakers
  • Interactive table conversations on ideation, developing your business model, building your team, marketing your venture, enabling technologies, and more.

Participants don’t need a venture to come.  They are open to anyone on the Syracuse University campus who wants to be part of a group of like-minded people interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.

The E-event on October 27 explores the creative industries — the force powering the new economy and driving innovation across many high growth job sectors.  These include:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Architecture
  • Arts management
  • Broadcasting, radio and television production
  • Design: product, graphic, fashion, interior and environmental design
  • Education and on-line learning
  • Entertainment and media
  • Film, computer art and animation, video, and photography
  • Fine arts across all media
  • Food and the culinary arts
  • Game development, AR and VR and emerging technologies
  • Hospitality, tourism and events productions
  • IT, software and computer services
  • Lighting and sound design, stage design, production tech
  • Literature, writing and publishing
  • Museums, galleries and libraries
  • Music, visual and performing arts
  • Web and mobile app development

To sign up to pitch, e-mail and for information on future events follow

Blackstone LaunchPad hosts Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs program on September 8

Tameka-Montgomery-sba - 400 pixelsWomen entering the workplace have been the driving force behind economic growth, according to recent Kauffman Foundation research. Yet, they are still half as likely as men to become entrepreneurs. How can more women become entrepreneurial, and unleash their creativity and ingenuity?

The campus community is invited to join the conversation at “Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs,” set for September 8 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Bird Library. The event features “Living Legend” Tameka Montgomery as keynote speaker, along with a dynamic panel of student, faculty, alumni, and community entrepreneurs. Syracuse University Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly will offer welcoming remarks.

“I am delighted that Syracuse University is able to host this conference dedicated to promoting and supporting female entrepreneurship,” says Wheatly. “In today’s marketplace, business start-ups are one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and professional success, and yet women still lag significantly behind men in launching new business ventures. This conference is an opportunity for them to learn from one another and to build and nurture those critical connections that have been found to be so important to women’s success as aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.”

The event kicks off with a 4 p.m. networking session at the new Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library, followed by a 4:30 p.m. program in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons with the keynote speaker and entrepreneur panel. It concludes with a resource fair featuring campus and community connectors. The event is free and open to the campus community. Registration is requested by e-mail to

Presidential appointee Tameka Montgomery leads the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), spearheading programs that serve more than 1.5 million entrepreneurs and small businesses nationwide. She oversees the SBA’s Office of Small Business Development Centers, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, and the Office of Entrepreneurship Education. The winner of numerous innovation awards, she was recognized as a Living Legend by the National Council of Negro Women. She was former executive director of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, where she won national accolades for building an entrepreneurship ecosystem there. Montgomery was previously a Presidential Management Fellow, and launched her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving two years in West Africa.

Following her remarks, an entrepreneur panel will be moderated by Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University. Panelists include:

  • Student venture – Melux, LLC, Co-founders Kristina Taylor ’17 and Kyla Brown ‘16
  • Alumni venture – EB Active, Founder and SSIC Entrepreneur in Residence Gabriela Escalante ’16
  • Faculty venture – Brainview Technologies, Founder Dr. Leanne Hirshfield
  • Community venture – The Sweet Praxis, Co-founders Natalie Hansen and Jennifer Walls
  • SBIR-backed venture – TextWise Founder Liz Liddy, Dean of the iSchool
  • SBA-backed venture – Sky Armory/the Events Company, CSEP, President and Creative Director Nicole T. Samolis

Following the program, participants can explore resource tables in the Bird Library Learning Commons, and meet invited providers, which include:

  • The WISE Women’s Business Center
  • The South Side Innovation Center
  • Falcone Center and Couri Hatchery
  • Whitman EClub and Whitman Women in Business
  • Blackstone LaunchPad
  • VISION Entrepreneurship Club
  • It Girls Alumnae, SWEEP (Society for Women’s Empowerment and Engagement Partners), WIT-G (Women in Technology-Graduate) and WIT-U (Women in Technology-Undergraduate)
  • Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Newhouse
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • New York State Small Business Development Center
  • New York Business Development Corporation
  • The Excelsior Growth Fund
  • LaunchNY Venture Development Organization
  • Upstate Venture Connect and Start Fast Accelerator
  • The Syracuse Technology Garden and Syracuse Student Sandbox

The event is designed to provide a framework for aspiring women entrepreneurs who want to explore how to launch an idea. It is being coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library, a new cross-campus entrepreneurship resource center funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Open to students, faculty, staff and alumni, the program provides support for ideation and venture development, connects entrepreneurs to Syracuse University’s robust innovation ecosystem, and offers access to national and global resources through the Blackstone network.

Co-sponsors include the New York Business Development Corporation, U.S. Small Business Administration, WISE Women’s Business Center, and The Syracuse Technology Garden. WISE (Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) was launched in 2003 by the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, a program of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. It is also supported through the U.S. SBA as part of a national network of Women’s Business Centers that help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses and compete in the global marketplace.







Braden Croy named Program Manager, Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University

Braden_CroyBraden Croy will join the Blackstone LaunchPad team on July 18 as Program Manager, supporting the expansion of the new experiential entrepreneurship program located in Bird Library.

In this new role, Croy will work with Executive Director Linda Dickerson Hartsock on project implementation milestones, particularly in regard to faculty and student outreach, to develop an entrepreneurial pipeline. Among his responsibilities will be to expand the number of ventures enrolled in the Blackstone LaunchPad platform, to assist with student coaching, and to develop events and activities that foster connections and team building across Syracuse University’s innovation ecosystem.

A graduate of Virginia Tech, Croy has been an active member of the campus and community entrepreneurship network. He served as a program manager for the StartFast Venture Accelerator, a facilitator for the New Explorations in Information and Science (NEXIS) program and the Syracuse Student Sandbox, and was part of a Syracuse enterprise startup based at the Tech Garden. He was a student entrepreneur at Virginia Tech, as founder and CEO of Cloud Conservatory. He has been a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops on building entrepreneurial networks, including a number of international workshops. He enjoys telling the story of how he started his path as an entrepreneur at age five, picking vegetables out of his parents’ garden and selling them back at a significant markup.

An as active member of entrepreneur communities at both Virginia Tech and Syracuse University, Croy has participated in Spring Break in Silicon Valley, Entretech, TEDx, and Startup Weekends in Syracuse and in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he won prizes. He was student president of the Virginia Tech Entrepreneurship Club, and also the recipient of the prestigious K50 Award from the Kairos Society, which recognizes the most innovative student startups in the world.

“Entrepreneurship embodies Braden’s leadership style,” said Hartsock. “He’s an innovative thinker with a track record as both a student and community entrepreneur, and has a keen understanding of technologies, products, markets and teams that lead to successful startup companies.”

“Syracuse University has contributed significantly to the growing field of entrepreneurship,” said Croy. “This position represents an opportunity to grow an inclusive, results-driven, cross-campus entrepreneurship ecosystem as a member of Blackstone’s international network. I’ve never come across a more dedicated and energetic group of entrepreneurship educators and community members than here at Syracuse University.”

Croy will be based at the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library and can be reached via Twitter @pbcroy or via e-mail:


Blackstone LaunchPad is an experiential, campus-based program open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It is designed to develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, ideation, and venture creation support. Based on a successful model started at the University of Miami, and further developed by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the program is available to more than 500,000 students at campuses globally. For more information:

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is located on the main level of Bird Library, placing entrepreneurship at the center of academic life and incorporating it into the resource network of Syracuse University Libraries. The Blackstone LaunchPad complements Syracuse University’s rich array of entrepreneurship initiatives, and connects them to a national network providing support for aspiring entrepreneurs.  Follow the LaunchPad at or learn more by e-mailing: