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Stark News Details

New Entrepreneurs Prepare to Launch

Posted Apr. 30, 2014
 
LaunchpadNew Entrepreneurs Prepare to Launch

Microsoft founder Bill Gates did it. So did Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Dell founder Michael Dell. College student entrepreneurs have started some of the most successful American businesses.

Who’s to say the next success won’t come from Kent State University at Stark? Especially now, with help from Blackstone LaunchPad, a national entrepreneurship program that came to campus last fall.

Sponsored by The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the program gives students (as well as faculty and alumni) the skills, knowledge and guidance to start new companies. Students partner with coaches who help them develop their business ideas. As ideas mature, LaunchPad connects students with experienced entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants, venture capitalists and other professionals who can help bring their businesses to market. And it’s all free.

“Entrepreneurship is a viable career path for Kent State Stark students,” says Zach Mikrut, marketing and events manager of LaunchPad at Kent State University. “We look forward to helping them transform their innovative ideas into thriving businesses that can strengthen the local economy.”

It’s already happening at Kent Campus, where LaunchPad has been up and running since 2012. More than 350 businesses or ideas are currently under development.

Kent State freshman entrepreneurship major Krista Jordan sells her hand-knit scarves and accessories at the Akron-Canton Airport, at an Akron boutique and online at www.flight4thecure.com. Ten percent of sales go toward cancer research at Cleveland’s University Hospitals, a tribute to Jordan’s father who died of leukemia when she was a baby.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without LaunchPad,” says Jordan. “I go to them with anything I’m unsure about, such as pricing, sales tax or additional funding. Some business owners pay thousands of dollars for advice like that. Any student, alum or Kent State staff member looking to start a business should start here.”

More information about Blackstone Launchpad can be found at www.kent.edu/blackstonelaunchpad.