UC Irvine students are no strangers to opportunities for growth, learning, and personal development. The UCI ANTrepreneur Center is a testament to that, igniting and fueling the entrepreneurial spirit within UC Irvine’s student population. One way that the ANTrepreneur Center supports student entrepreneurs is by establishing external partnerships to create new opportunities and provide access to a wider array of resources and services. The ANTrepreneur Center’s partnership with Blackstone LaunchPad is a great example of this effort and has existed since the Center’s launch.

About Blackstone LaunchPad

Blackstone LaunchPad is the signature program of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s largest alternative asset manager. It seeks to close opportunity gaps by equipping college and university students with the entrepreneurial skills they need to build lasting careers. LaunchPad helps participating schools set up an on-campus innovation hotspot where students can build entrepreneurial skills, get support from a dedicated faculty director, and connect with like-minded peers.

About the Partnership

The ANTrepreneur Center’s affiliation with Blackstone LaunchPad, which dates back to 2014, has been instrumental in shaping the entrepreneurial landscape at UC Irvine. This strategic partnership brings an abundance of advantages to students, including:

  • Networking Opportunities: Students have access to Blackstone LaunchPad’s network of entrepreneurs, mentors, and business leaders from other institutions. This exposure to a broader entrepreneurial ecosystem can facilitate knowledge exchange, collaborative problem-solving, and the growth of professional networks.
  • Participation in Competitions: Students are invited to participate in events like Blackstone LaunchPad’s fall Ideas Competition, which fosters creativity, innovation, and drive among students. Competitions like this provide an avenue for students to develop, pitch, and potentially gain funding for their business ideas.
  • Fellowships and Unique Opportunities: Through Blackstone LaunchPad, students have access to fellowships, mentorship programs, and opportunities to learn directly from successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.
  • Access to Resources: Students can access Blackstone LaunchPad’s vast array of resources, including educational content, experiential learning opportunities, business-planning tools, and startup resources.
  • Collaborative Events: The ANTrepreneur Center has the chance to collaborate with other schools in the Blackstone LaunchPad network to host various events and initiatives. This promotes a sense of community among entrepreneurial students across the globe and fosters a diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial culture.
  • Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp: UC Irvine student entrepreneurs who are looking to tap into Blackstone LaunchPad’s resources are encouraged to participate in the Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp each summer. This four-week virtual boot camp is designed to bolster confidence as entrepreneurial leaders, equip students with tangible career-oriented skills, and connect like-minded students across the United States. 

Speaking on the impact of the collaboration, Ryan Foland, Director of the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, explains:

“Having the ability to tap into the resources and community from over fifty Blackstone LaunchPad campuses creates great value for our students. Connecting with other student entrepreneurs and getting access to competitions, boot camps, workshops, and fellowships helps to diversify our program offerings. I suggest students take full advantage of this partnership to galvanize their entrepreneurial journeys!”

The UCI ANTrepreneur Center, in its mission to nurture the entrepreneurial aspirations of its student body, demonstrates the power of effective collaboration through its affiliation with Blackstone LaunchPad. This partnership not only connects UC Irvine students to an expansive network of resources, mentorship, and opportunities but also emphasizes a core ethos of the ANTrepreneur Center: to uplift and empower underrepresented communities on campus. 

By fostering an inclusive environment and focusing on these communities, the ANTrepreneur Center seeks to instill the belief that anyone, regardless of background, can develop and leverage entrepreneurship skills. And, thanks to the wealth of resources offered through Blackstone LaunchPad, students from all walks of life can truly elevate their entrepreneurial ambitions. As UC Irvine continues to champion inclusivity and empowerment, the future of entrepreneurship on campus seems not only promising but also incredibly diverse.

For more information about the UCI ANTrepreneur Center and how it can support your entrepreneurial journey, including programming, speaker series, micro-internships, funding, and more, visit our website. You can also learn more about our valuable collaborations, including Tech Coast Angels, Tech Coast Venture Network, OC Startup Council, SoCal Celebrates Entrepreneurship, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Threads.