The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced yet another expansion of its campus entrepreneurship program, Blackstone LaunchPad, to Central Florida. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $1.4 million grant establishes a partnership between the University of Central Florida and the University of Miami 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 viable companies. With a physical presence at the University of Central Florida, Blackstone LaunchPad has the potential to generate some 300 new ventures in Central Florida over the next five years. Blackstone LaunchPad is modeled after a successful program developed at the University of Miami in 2008, which has generated more than 100 start-up ventures, 215 new jobs and drawn nearly 2,000 participants. Since 2010, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has opened Blackstone LaunchPads on eight campuses in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Each regional initiative will be linked together, drawing ideas and best practices from more established programs, and giving student entrepreneurs at the University of Central Florida access to a stronger network of expert advisers for their ventures. “Entrepreneurship is the single most effective way to spur economic growth and job creation. We must all play a role in nurturing talent and through Blackstone LaunchPad, we can foster new generations of entrepreneurs who will transform local economies by creating new and innovative companies,” said Blackstone’s Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman. Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Central Florida will foster connections between the university campus, business community, and local entrepreneurs to create an environment that nurtures young entrepreneurs and provides them the skills and network necessary to succeed. Unlike traditional college curricular programs available to limited school populations, Blackstone LaunchPad is open to all 60,000 students at the University of Central Florida, regardless of major. Through this innovative campus program, 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 the economy.