On Friday Montana became the fifth Blackstone Launchpad region, joining Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Blackstone LaunchPad is modeled after a successful program developed at the University of Miami in 2008, which has generated 1,413 business proposals, 210 new jobs, and drawn nearly 2,600 participants. Each new regional program will be linked together, drawing ideas and best practices from the existing programs, and giving student entrepreneurs at the University of Montana and Montana State University access to a national community of over 200,000 of their peers expert advisers for their ventures.
“Entrepreneurship is the single most effective way to spur economic growth and job creation,” said Blackstone’s President and COO, Tony James. “We must all play a role in nurturing talent, and through Blackstone LaunchPad, students will have access to an expanded universe of resources and years of institutional knowledge, helping them launch ventures that can take root locally and strengthen Montana’s economy.”
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s three-year, $2 million grant will establish a partnership between Montana State University, the University of Montana, and Headwaters RC&D to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide university students with a network of venture coaches and entrepreneurial support to transform new ideas into sustainable companies. With a physical presence at Montana State University and the University of Montana, Blackstone LaunchPad has the potential to generate some 150 new ventures in Montana over the next five years.
“The Blackstone LaunchPad Program will allow students at Montana State University and the University of Montana to see real application of their ideas transformed into sustainable companies as they partner with local businesses. I look forward to the innovation and new ventures Montana will see in the coming years through Blackstone LaunchPad,” Montana Governor Steve Bullock said in a statement.
This should come as no surprise to some as Montana was ranked #1 according to the latest Kauffman Foundation Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, which was released last month. Because of Montana’s natural resources, it’s become a hub of sorts to startups and small businesses.
“Montana is a small business state – in fact nearly all of our workers are employed by businesses with fewer than 20 employees. That means Montana jobs rely on entrepreneurs, striking out on their own and building companies from the ground up. This new partnership will go a long way toward helping Montana entrepreneurs get new businesses off the ground so they can grow and create jobs.” Senator Max Bacus said in a statement.
You can find out more about Blackstone here.
Yes even startups from Montana come to this huge startup conference for startups everywhere else.
Image: Billings, MT