Blackstone LaunchPad Kent State rebrands with Grand “Reopening”


President Beverly Warren speaks about the reopening of LaunchNET at Kent State on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 in the Student Center.

Caroline Licata

LaunchNET Kent State, formerly known as Blackstone LaunchPad Kent State, marked their new branding with a Grand “Reopening” celebration Thursday.

Blackstone LaunchPad in Northeast Ohio has transitioned to a new regional network called NEOLaunchNET, powered by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

NEOLaunchNET is a co-curricular program and regional network consisting of Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University, Baldwin Wallace University and Lorain County Community College.

The office of LaunchNET Kent State is located on the first floor of the Student Center and aids students, alumni, faculty and staff with new or pre-existing businesses to bring their ideas to life with one-on-one advising, various entrepreneurship opportunities and a wide range of innovative events.

Keynote speakers at the event included Burton D. Morgan Foundation President Deborah Hoover and Kent State University President Beverly Warren.

Warren discussed her vision for Kent State’s future with LaunchNET and the success that it has brought students so far.

“We think about students first, and what kind of experiences can we provide for students where you will feel that you can tackle the world, where you feel that the unknown is not a scary thing,” Warren said.  “What I am so pleased to report is that the number of patents that you see here at Kent State University is really above the curve.”

Hoover elaborated on Warren’s remarks and touched on how LaunchNET will continue to strive and support all students in their journey to success.

“NEOLaunchNET will support its students as they dream, develop ideas and start new ventures, but at the end of the day the program exists as a pivotal, educational experience to enhance what students are learning in the classroom and help them figure out how to navigate the world as they bring their ideas to fruition,” Hoover said.

Alicia Robinson, program coordinator of the Women Gender Center as well as a human development / family studies major graduate student, discussed how much LaunchNET has impacted her life and made her career goal become a reality.

“LaunchNET helped me better my confidence and courage and also gave me the business tools I needed to be successful,” Robinson said.

Through the help of LaunchNET, Robinson was able to found her own non-profit organization, Limitless Ambition, Inc., which helps empower young women through career coaching, mentoring and academic assistance in order to help them reach their full potential and career goals.

LaunchNET Kent State will offer the same services and events as before, but will refocus their efforts on highlighting resources in Northeast Ohio for entrepreneurs.

“The foundation believes wholeheartedly in the spark provided by the intersection of ideas, and I have to say, Kent State has truly been a pro at this,” Hoover said.

Caroline Licata is an academic reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected].