Photo courtesy UTEP

UTEP joins Blackstone LaunchPad College Entrepreneurship network

Tuesday afternoon, officials with the University of Texas at El Paso announced that the college is joining the Blackstone LaunchPad College Entrepreneurship network.

According to officials, the Blackstone LaunchPad College Entrepreneurship aims to equip students with tools and resources to gain knowledge and critical skills to help them succeed as founders or contributors to the 21st century economy while supporting diverse and underrepresented students in exploring opportunities associated with entrepreneurship.

“We are pleased to partner with Blackstone LaunchPad to prepare more UTEP students as future entrepreneurs,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs. This preparation will hold our students in good stead throughout their careers.  Entrepreneurship is an important potential driver for the regional economy, and Blackstone’s investment helps us fulfill our public university mission.”

At UTEP, through the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce (MLCIC), a Blackstone Launchpad Center located in Prospect Hall will be established to provide an overall umbrella for entrepreneurship activity at the University.

“The LaunchPad will provide all graduate and undergraduate UTEP students unique experiential entrepreneurship activities and programs designed to learn by doing,” said Maria Fernanda Fiscal Centeno, director of Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars at UTEP’s MLCIC.

“Students will have space to start a company, join forces with another founder, or learn about entrepreneurship. UTEP LaunchPad will equip students with the mindset, skills, and network they need to succeed, regardless of their background, starting point, or future plans.”

As a member of the network, UTEP students will be able to take advantage of LaunchPad events, coaching and access extensive mentor and industry networks to help them succeed in their entrepreneurial ventures at all levels. They can start a company, change course, join forces with another founder, or pursue a traditional career.

“It is a pleasure to be able to work with the UT System and the Blackstone Foundation to bring the Blackstone LaunchPad to the UTEP campus,” said James Payne, Ph.D., dean of UTEP’s College of Business Administration. “The opportunity to provide students from across the campus with the tools and resources to learn and develop their entrepreneurial talents is quite exciting.”

“A Blackstone LaunchPad here on campus is the biggest thing to happen in entrepreneurship at UTEP in its history,” said Michael Garcia, director of the MLCIC.

“It brings the power of TechStars, the world’s most widely known source of entrepreneurship resources, right here to our door. Blackstone and TechStars will give us everything we need to show our students that being an entrepreneur is a viable and exciting career option, regardless of discipline, background or degree. Our vision is that someday soon, startups incubated in our LaunchPad will become a source of jobs for UTEP graduates and mature into critical components of new supply chains in our regional economy.”