• Blackstone Foundation Announces Entrepreneurial Initiative

    The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and a consortium of major Triangle universities today announced the launch of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, a new five-year initiative to help North Carolina’s Research Triangle become headquarters for America’s next high-growth companies with the greatest potential to create new jobs.

    Partner universities include North Carolina State University, Duke University, North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Durham-based Council for Entrepreneurial Development also will be part of the effort.A $3.63 million gift from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation will support the formation of a dense network of entrepreneurial support in the region, similar to networks that exist in Silicon Valley and the Boston Corridor. The goal of the program is to identify and mentor 30 start-up teams each year, for a total of 150 over the program’s five-year span. By linking talented serial entrepreneurs to local start-ups, the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network has the potential over 10 years to create more than 17,000 jobs, attract more than $800 million in seed, start-up and expansion capital, and generate more than $4 billion in revenue.

    The Blackstone Charitable Foundation made the grant as part of its Entrepreneurship Initiative. Influenced by the urgent need for job growth in the United States in the wake of the economic collapse, Blackstone changed its Foundation’s mission and committed $50 million to fostering entrepreneurship in places with high unemployment and where Blackstone works and lives. The Foundation looks for innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can meaningfully contribute to the economic rebuilding of the nation. In North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Blackstone saw an opportunity to build on an innovation hub with great growth potential.

    “The Blackstone Charitable Foundation views support for entrepreneurship as a critically important element in meaningfully building jobs and improving the United States’ growth and competitiveness,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group. “We are pleased to join this partnership to develop what will be a dynamic regional network capable of applying the operational expertise and coordinated, laser-like focus on bringing ideas to market.”

    The partnership was announced at an event in Durham. In addition to Schwarzman, attendees included Governor Bev Perdue; U.S. Senator Kay Hagan; U.S. Representative Brad Miller; Ginger Lew, Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council at the White House and the Small Business Administration Administrator; NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson, Duke President Richard Brodhead; NC Central Chancellor Charlie Nelms; UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp; and Joan Siefert Rose, President of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

    How it works:

    The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network will draw from the ranks of veteran “master entrepreneurs” to identify marketable innovations out of area universities and regional start-ups with the greatest potential to become high-growth companies. Ideal targets are teams and concepts with the highest-deemed capacity – specifically, start-ups that have the potential to create $40 million in revenue and become profitable within 10 years and that are in the early stages of fundraising. Master Entrepreneurs will then mentor these local entrepreneurs in company-building and provide access to the broader Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network. This greater network will include sector experts, venture coaches, angel investors and administrative and marketing support.

    About The Blackstone Charitable Foundation:

    The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of The Blackstone Group’s Initial Public Offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. (For more information, see



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