From lawyers to literary giants, Spelman College is known for producing changemakers who have significantly shaped their respective industries. The HBCU will continue to use education as a vessel to empower the next generation of leaders through an entrepreneurship program.
The Atlanta-based institution has joined an initiative being led by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation dubbed Blackstone LaunchPad. Aware of the disparities that disproportionately impact Black founders, the program—which was cultivated in collaboration with the United Negro College Fund Inc.—was designed to create pathways for students in the realm of entrepreneurship through skills-building, mentorship and opportunities to bring their venture ideas to fruition.
“Spelman’s goal is to provide our students with the competitive edge they need to excel in any field,” Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. said in a statement. “Providing access to entrepreneurial insight, training and mentoring through high caliber partnerships, Blackstone LaunchPad is an innovative program our scholars will benefit from for years to come. We are grateful for the investment in our students by Blackstone LaunchPad, which aligns with our new Center for Black Entrepreneurship, and will result in diversifying the pipeline of owners and leaders.” The program is a part of a $40 million, five-year commitment made by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to eliminate barriers that stand in the way of accessibility to entrepreneurship-focused education. Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University are among the 30 schools that are a part of the Blackstone LaunchPad program.
Atlanta has a rich history of Black entrepreneurship and several projects have been created to continue that legacy. The Russell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship was launched to help aspiring entrepreneurs of color by providing them with the necessary tools and resources and aid seasoned business owners in developing new strategies to grow their companies.