Central Florida is an ideal region for a Blackstone LaunchPad because of its burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem, where talent is abundant and a strong set of support services are already in place. Blackstone’s commitment in the region, in addition to the $1.4 million grant announced today, includes investments in several companies in its portfolio, which it manages on behalf of investors. The companies in Blackstone’s portfolio with operations in Central Florida, which includes Merlin, Hilton Worldwide, Performance Food Group, Michaels, and SeaWorld, have collectively invested close to $600 million in Central Florida in recent years.

Funding for this program is made possible through The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $50 million, five-year Entrepreneurship Initiative, which seeks to target support services regionally for aspiring entrepreneurs, and in turn, the high-growth businesses and industries that are most known to spark economic growth. Due to the early success of the program, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was recognized by President Obama’s “Startup America Initiative” and pledged to expand LaunchPad to five new regions over the next five years.

What They Are Saying: A Quote Roundup

Senator Marco Rubio

"Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the engine of our economy, and now more than ever it is critical that we support innovation and investment in startups and new businesses. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation will help bring this kind of support and resources to our universities in Central Florida. Our students and young innovators should be empowered and given a chance to succeed so that they can then grow, create jobs, and continue to strengthen our economy.”

John Hitt, President of the University of Central Florida

“As America’s leading partnership university, UCF is proud to participate in an exciting new alliance to launch the next generation of Florida’s entrepreneurs. This effort will greatly benefit our students and enhance the economic prosperity of our community, which is good news for all of Central Florida.”

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