Dozens of Walsh College students and alumni are taking advantage of the Blackstone LaunchPad program, writing business plans and launching start-ups from the now year-old program.
Last fall, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation
launched Blackstone LaunchPad programs at Walsh College and Wayne State with $2 million worth of funding. The idea was to create an entrepreneurial atmosphere for the entire student body, so engineers, art students and other non-business school students could pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and play a significant role in the reinvention of Metro Detroit's economy.
Walsh College, with its 3,000 students, has had close to 200 people taking part since the Blackstone LaunchPad
program began in September of 2010. Most of those are students with a smattering of alumni also taking part. Of those participants, 70 have submitted business plans. The average participant is 33 years old and working full-time while pursuing a degree.
"It's going to take time, and in some cases they will be small businesses," says Carol Glynn, director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Walsh College. "And that's fine. What is important is they try."
She adds that the types of business have been "all over the board." The industry breakdown includes 14 percent in consulting, 23 percent in e-commerce/tech, 16 percent in food/spirits, and 7 percent in education, among other types of business. Glynn says she expects similar numbers of businesses next year, but plans to go after a higher-quality array.
Source: Carol Glynn, director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Walsh College
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.