The Blackstone LaunchPad program helps develop entrepreneurs


The LaunchPad office, located in the main lobby of the Student Center, is a program that helps students with their entrepreneural endevors to get their business ideas started. The center opened during the summer, but will have its official opening on Sept. 28. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Mary Kate Garvey

Development of new products and businesses came to a halt with the economic recession, which is exactly the problem entrepreneurs at Blackstone LaunchPad are trying to fix.

“That’s the main goal of our program,” said Kate Harmon, LaunchPad’s program manager. “We’re creating successful entrepreneurs who are basically going to launch viable business that are going to create jobs for this economy.”

The LaunchPad program guides students, alumni and faculty to the skills and knowledge to start new businesses and become successful entrepreneurs.

The Blackstone LaunchPad is located in the first floor of the Student Center offering students, alumni and faculty of any major an opportunity to become an entrepreneur.

The program is currently open for business but will have its grand opening Sept. 28. It is not only new to Kent State, but also to Baldwin Wallace University, Lorain County Community College and Case Western Reserve University.

“By launching the LaunchPad at not only KSU, but also the other schools, they’re hoping to really help drive economic development in Northeast Ohio,” Harmon said.

Sponsored by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, LaunchPad helps commence potential products and businesses, and it’s educational. The clients do the majority of the work themselves. The LaunchPad is simply there to guide them no matter how far along in the development process they are.

“I think part of what I hope happens with LaunchPad is people who don’t necessarily associate with business still associate with the ways they can be entrepreneurs,” said Kathryn Wilson, dean of the College of Business Administration. “And so it doesn’t mean you have to be an entrepreneurship major or minor, or even step foot in the business school, you know you have everything available to you through LaunchPad.”

Sean Bammer, a 2005 Kent State graduate in marketing, utilized the LaunchPad program for the development of marketing strategies for his app Perfect Pic. The application for the iPhone and iPad takes the perfect picture from video by breaking the video down into individual frames.

After the picture is captured, the user can crop, rotate and apply filters. The image then can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Bammer said he came up with the idea because of his love for snowboarding. He and his friends recorded video of their endeavors, such as jumps and tricks, but it was always difficult to get the timing right for the perfect picture.

After developing the application, he turned to LaunchPad for help with marketing strategies and good people to contact.

“They’re extremely nice. Everything they could have possibly helped me with, they have gone above and beyond my expectations,” Bammer, who also owns Metropolis Popcorn in Cuyahoga Falls, said. “They’ve done a really good job to do everything within their reach. I look forward to continue working with them.”

Contact Mary Kate Garvey at [email protected].