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Grooming the 21st Century Entrepeneur

UT Southwestern Unveils Blackstone Launchpad

UT Southwestern students and researchers hoping to turn their scientific discoveries into successful startup businesses are now getting a boost from the Blackstone Launchpad & Techstars network. Funded through a grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, as one of eight campuses in The University of Texas System to offer the program, the expansion to UT Southwestern will bring the initiative’s network and resources to a more diverse set of students and provide critical access to resources, opportunities, and mentorship.

“We are incredibly excited to help student entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “Launchpad provides an invaluable experience by helping students acquire entrepreneurial skills that will help them contribute to Texas’ economic growth and prepare them for today’s workforce.”

Through the program, students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty can learn how to build a startup and will have access to investors and mentoring from coaches and experts with experience in launching and operating innovative startups in health care and the life sciences.

“Science is world-class at UT Southwestern, where we have had tremendous success in basic research and advancing some of our technologies to the commercial market. Providing entrepreneurial tools, programs, and resources will help students understand what it takes to get technologies to the market and help them build a solid entrepreneurial foundation for their future,” said Bradley Phelan, Director of Technology Commercialization and Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at UT Southwestern.

 Mr. Phelan describes the road to entrepreneurship as a “learn by doing” experience that cannot come from a book. LaunchPad forces participants out of their comfort zone and into the unknown. “One of the things about being an entrepreneur is nobody really knows what they are doing until they have gone and done it,” he said. “By the end of the program, participants will be able to decide whether their technology has a viable commercial opportunity to build a business, whether it is viable but needs adjustments, or whether it is not a suitable idea.”

A graphic of a rocketship

The entrepreneurial mindset

LaunchPad helps students learn how to think creatively, communicate effectively, and work as a team to build companies using the three pillars of an entrepreneurial mindset:

  • Take ownership.
  • Be proactive.
  • Be resourceful.

Thinking like an entrepreneur can elevate anyone’s performance, whether they want to start a business or be a doctor.