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Celebrate Black History Month at Afropreneurship Fri, Feb 24 at Bird Library

Join Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad on Friday, February 24 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, first floor of Bird Library, for Afropreneurship, a celebration of black entrepreneurs. Register now

The event will include panel discussions. an open pitch competition, and a networking reception. It is being organized by Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholar, Ud Joseph ’25 (iSchool), along with Brandon Henry ’24 (Maxwell), Adore Ellis ’23 (VPA), and Jordan Pierre ’23 (Whitman).

It will feature entrepreneurs such as Eli Smith, CEO of So Gone Trash Removal and Eli Smith Contractors, Lisa Newcomb, CEO of Thrive in Healing, and LaunchPad Alum Damaris (Koi) Munyua G’22 (Whitman).

A “Fast Pitch Challenge” will offer a $500 first prize for a creative and realistic solution to solve a problem in our community.  The program will be moderated by Ud Joseph, and will showcase a number of Syracuse campus and community black entrepreneurs who are launching ventures.

A highlight of the program will be a feature from a rockstar LaunchPad Alum, Kelsey Davis. It will conclude with a networking reception. All are welcome to attend and commemorate Black History Month at this second annual event.

Register now

Justin Gluska ’23 publishes ChatGPT Promptbook, hosts authors talk luncheon in the LaunchPad on February 8

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Justin Gluska ’23

Justin Gluska ’23 (College of Engineering and Computer Science), LaunchPad digital innovation team specialist, LaunchPad webmaster and Posse Scholar, has just published his first book, “The ChatGPT Promptbook.” He will be giving an author’s talk about researching, creating, and promoting engaging content with ChatGPT on Wednesday, February 8 at noon at the LaunchPad in Bird Library.

The Blackstone LaunchPad has just acquired the book as part of its innovation and entrepreneurship collection at Bird Library. It can also be purchased on-line here.

“ChatGPT revolutionary technology is here to help people across the globe streamline their workflows, improve productivity, and generate new opportunities for success,” says Gluska. “Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, teacher, software engineer, digital marketer, student, or content creator, this book will provide you with creative techniques and examples you need to unlock the full potential of ChatGPT. With 52 real-world examples and actionable techniques, you’ll be able to start using ChatGPT to improve productivity in no time.”

The book explores how to use ChatGPT to create new opportunities, save time, and supercharge your ideas across a number of applications for personal life and business. Featured categories include:

  • Creative Writing
  • Academia and Education
  • Planning and Assistance
  • Marketing and Sales
  • General Business
  • Career Development
  • Coding and Software Development
  • Technical Debugging
  • Entertainment and Lifestyle
  • General Language
  • Music + Song Lyrics
  • Health and Food

Gluska is a well-known website blogger and founder of Gold Penguin, a Miami, Florida-based digital marketing agency. He has leveraged online tools and software to create his own business and decided to author a book to share useful AI tools he has used.

“From ChatGPT to tiny SaaS tools, there are so many new products popping up that anyone can use to optimize their work and personal tasks,” he says. “You don’t have to be a programmer to benefit from ChatGPT. You can be an educator, marketer, student, historian, or digital content creator operating from anywhere.”  

 ChatGPT acts as a conversational chatbot filled with helpful knowledge. Users find it handy for applications as far ranging as from asking life advice to debugging broken code. Gluska’s book explores examples of those uses. It also provides real life examples, including prompts and responses. He suggests that readers pay key attention to how things are being asked: In what order, with what verbiage, and in what requested tone because those variations in prompts result in variations around answers. This book helps readers to better develop prompt engineering skills to produce the most effective results.

“I’ve been using ChatGPT since the day it was released and truly believe our society is on the brink of the next technological breakthrough which will be the Artificial Intelligence revolution.”

The event is open to anyone in the Syracuse University community interested in learning more about ChatGPT. It is free of charge and pizza will be served. To help with planning, or request a link to the recorded session, please e-mail LaunchPad@syr.edu

Syracuse University Blackstone Launchpad to host office hours improve your pitch presentation

Judy “JB” McEnany will join the Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad for office hours to help student entrepreneurs improve their pitch and presentation skills starting February 2 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. 

McEnany, received a BA from University of Southwestern Louisiana in Speech and Theater, MA from University of Arkansas in Speech and Children’s Theater, and Ph.D. From Kansas State University in Curriculum and Instruction. She retired from Montana State University Billings College of Education in 2015.

Since retirement, McEnany has taught several innovative English and public speaking courses surrounding topics such as body language, persuasion, psychology of color, and more. She is the House Director at Syracuse University Alpha XI Delta sorority.

Ventures who would like to meet Judy McEnany can stop in during office hours:

  • Thursday, February 2 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, February 8 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Thursday, February 9 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Thursday, February 16 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Click here to view upcoming Spring competitions and deadlines.

Innovation Law Center Office Hours for LaunchPad Startups Spring 23′

Need help understanding how to protect ideas or creative works? Confused about patents, trademarks and copyrights?  Join the Innovation Law Center Office Hours for LaunchPad Office Hours this spring at this Zoom link.

The Innovation Law Center at SU’s College of Law is partnering with the Blackstone LaunchPad to host office hours for innovators and inventors interested in commercializing their ideas. Meet with student law student experts (SRA’s) to provide information on intellectual property, regulatory compliance, and commercialization research resources. Ask questions on anything related to the technical, legal, and business aspects involved in bringing new technologies to market.

Office hours this spring semester will be 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. virtually on these days, hosted by the ILC team:

  • Friday, January 27: Claire
  • Friday, February 10: Marc
  • Friday, February 24: Autumn
  • Friday, March 10: Brian
  • Friday, March 24: Hailey
  • Friday, April 14: Brian
  • Friday, April 28: Cecily

While the SU Innovation Law Center does not file for or prosecute patents, and does not provide legal advice or opinions, the LaunchPad and the ILC can help refer inventors and entrepreneurs to IP law firms to implement patent, trademark, copyright filings, licensing agreements and other legal work.

Ask questions — don’t let confusion or uncertainty about the legal aspects of startups stop you from pursuing your idea.

If you’d like to schedule a particular time or private conversation during a scheduled session, please e-mail us at LaunchPad@syr.edu

Alesandra (Sasha) Temerte ’23 named as 2022-23 Luise and Morton Kaish Fellow

student in front of a cave opening

Through the philanthropic gift of Syracuse University alumni and prominent artists Luise ’46, G’51 and Morton Kaish ’49, the Kaish Fellowship program was established in 2021. The program provides funding for undergraduate students from every discipline to undertake original research on the permanent art collection and to work with museum staff on exhibitions, scholarly publications and public programming.

Temerte is a senior at Syracuse University, double majoring in economics and writing and rhetoric studies, with minors in Spanish and strategic management. She is a Coronat Scholar, a member of the Renée Crown Honors Program and a 2022-23 Remembrance Scholar. She has been a LaunchPad Global Fellow throughout her tenure at Syracuse University and is also an entrepreneur. Her LaunchPad writing archive is here.

As a writer, Temerte has been interested in the concept of storytelling through fragments. Through her courses at Syracuse University, her fragmented storytelling approach continues to take shape in prose, depicting stories through the lens of passing moments and snippets of meaning that tell a greater narrative.

Recently, she has explored writing in multimedia forms, often combining prose, poetry, images, and video together. Temerte’s interest in the abstract and the surreal drew her to apply for the Kaish fellowship, and she envisions creating a small booklet of poems for her final project.

Through this opportunity, Temerte plans to work alongside interim Chief Curator Melissa Yuen to explore works of art by both Luise and Morton Kaish, as well as other artists in the permanent collection, which engage with collision and interruption.

The original story appears here.

Rob Goldblatt ’23 takes streetwear to a new level of fashion

Rob Goldblatt ’23

When you first meet Rob Goldblatt, you can’t help but notice his sense of style. His dedication to clothing is visible through his personal sense of fashion, and also through his passion for sustainable streetwear. Goldblatt is a senior from San Francisco studying Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises (EEE) at the Whitman School of Business who wants to take his education and apply it to his own business.

He has always had a unique and thoughtful view of the world, the way he sees people, culture, clothes, fashion, and most importantly, the representation of everyone. In high school, he spent a lot of his time skateboarding and through this experience, he was able to meet and befriend people from all over the San Francisco Bay Area.

In addition to skateboarding, Goldblatt found a passion for hip-hop. He performed in the Bay Area, in high school, and along his journey made new friendships leading him to collaborate with other artists. He realized very early that his relationships with people were key to succeeding, and through these relationships enabled him bootstrap producing his own videos and implementing various guerilla marketing strategies.

As his interest in music grew, it slowly expanded into a different passion. After interning with music publishing and production companies, Goldblatt realized streetwear and hip-hop were ideas he could creatively bring together. Ultimately this led him to pursue his Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises major to redefine fashion.

Goldblatt isn’t creating just a streetwear brand, he’s adding meaning behind it. With the countless experiences he’s had, and his time abroad in Barcelona, Spain, he was able to see how big the world really is. “I want to make sure I’m keeping my brand authentic and my customers are well represented in the clothes I produce, and content I create.”

He says he cares about an individual’s personalities, not money or looks. He wants people to be able to wear his clothes and feel good about supporting a fashion brand that is in line with their value system, supporting ethical supply chain networks.

He wants to make a sustainable product and upcycle clothes, as well as be affordable for a wide range of customers. “I like street fashion, and growing up I was buying Supreme, but it wasn’t sustainable.” His goal is to use materials that are ethically and environmentally sustainable while making a “cool brand.” To exemplify the uniqueness of his company, he plans to develop a website of his own for his buyers, promoted through digital marketing efforts.

Rob’s business is still under development as he believes it’s important to have an understanding and respect for what you’re investing in because it’s important to the success of yourself as well as the customers. He has spent countless hours conducting research on his topic as well as taking entrepreneur classes to ensure the success of his clothing line. Rob also made sure to communicate that he knows he is only scratching the surface of learning what he needs to succeed in the highly competitive and complex fashion industry. After graduation, he is dedicated to learning through hard work and knows that getting his hands dirty in the daily grind of the business will be invaluable.

Goldblatt understands how important it is to maintain a solid brand identity for the clothing business. He feels, “If people don’t believe in you as an individual, your brand probably won’t make it in this industry. You have to be in tune with who you are and what you bring to the table.”

After college, he plans to work for a fashion brand that upholds the values he believes in and where he can learn about the inner workings of a clothing business. He wants to work for a company in LA or NYC that embraces diversity so one day he can start one for himself.

He says, “We overlook the resources we have the privilege of having” but hopes to make a positive change in the right direction with clothes, culture, fashion, streetwear, and style.

Story by Sydney Grosso, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow; photo supplied  

Join Upstate Founders, a new network for student startups, with applications due by December 10

Imagine how much easier entrepreneurship would be if you could brainstorm ideas, get help when you feel stuck, meet others who are on the same journey, inspire each other to move ahead, be held accountable and share resources. Upstate Founders, catalyzed by Clarkson University and supported through upstate ecosystem partners including the LaunchPad, is bringing masterminds and resources to student startups through a free networking and micro credentialing program funded through New York State. Applications are being accepted through December 10, 2022.

Applicants need to be New York State residents and early-stage entrepreneurs — anywhere from “I have an idea” to being in business for up to three years.

Upstate Founders is creating a massive network of 400 entrepreneurs across Upstate NY. All participants will be given access to new resources, including the chance to join an entrepreneurship mastermind. Participants will also get access to online courses in entrepreneurship to earn credentials from Clarkson University.

It is completely free to participants — a value of $7,500, according to network organizers.

Join 400 other student founders and take the journey together. Apply by December 10

Participate in free online micro-credential courses from Clarkson University. Gain instant access to  information to start and grow your business. Listen and learn at your own pace. No exams.

Come to a final graduation party and networking event to meet in person with the Upstate Founders network. Meet mastermind peers, discover programs and resources to support you on your next steps, and celebrate your progress. All those who have completed the programwill receive a Professional Certificate of Completion from Clarkson University.

Learn more here.

Student innovators can access $25,000 in grant funding to bring big ideas to market through VentureWell

Do you have an idea that can change the world? Each year, VentureWell awards over $800,000 in non-dilutive E-Team grants to early-stage student innovation teams that develop scalable innovations which aim to solve large social, health, or environmental challenges.

If you are part of a student team developing an idea to solve large social, health, or environmental challenges, take a minute to check out the E-Team Program to discover how its training and grant funding can help you make your idea a reality. You’ll learn, along with a class of fellow innovators from across the country, what it takes to commercialize your innovation, from customer discovery to competitive analysis to developing a winning value proposition.

The E-Team Program, part of the VentureWell Accelerator, supports student ventures as they embark down the path they are likely to take as an innovator and entrepreneur. We help you advance student inventions through a powerful mix of up to $25,000 in grant funding, entrepreneurship training, mentorship by dedicated staff, national recognition, and networking with peers and industry experts. VentureWell team works closely with each venture to explore possible pathways for their innovations as they advance through an Early-Stage Innovator Training Program.

Key dates for the program:

Why apply?

Up to $25,000 in Grant Funding
Unlock up to $25,000 to launch your venture. Grants are competitive, recognized nationally as a source of non-dilutive funding, and empower innovators to explore commercialization.

Sponsored Training
Attend our fully funded training workshops and explore pathways for your venture. VentureWell has a bank of innovation curricula that combine lean startup principles with company building, professional development, and individual cultivation.

Networking & Mentorship
Tap into the VentureWell mentor and E-Team network, with the potential to connect with investors and strategic partners who can transform your venture.

National Exposure & Recognition
E-Team members have been named to the Time Magazine “Best Inventions” list and Forbes’ “30 Under 30”; appointed as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador; and appeared in The New York TimesNational Geographic, and other publications.

Is Your Innovation a Good Fit?

  • Social/Environmental Impact: Inventions that will scale to address a pressing social, health, or environmental need. We fund innovations that can solve challenges including health, food security, energy, and climate change. See additional examples here.
  • Science- and Engineering-Based Inventions: An innovation that is different from other competing technologies.
  • Intent To Commercialize: A strong commitment to exploring commercialization of your innovation.
  • Student Team Identified: Teams that include two or more students and a faculty advisor.

VentureWell has trained over 1,400 entrepreneurs in 500+ E-Teams. Teams that have taken part in the E-Team Program have raised $740+ million in follow-on funding. E-Teams have launched 500+ ventures since taking part in our program.

Want to learn more about our program from past program graduates? Meet E-Teams here

If you are a founder who is focused full-time on your startup,Venture Well can also help you prepare to launch and scale your company through ASPIRE and our investor network. Learn how VentureWell startup programming can help secure your first round of equity funding.

The E-Team Grant program is presented through the generous support of The Lemelson Foundation, Qualcomm, and SBIR/STTR America’s Seed Fund.

We invite you to join us for a free, live info session on December 13 at 12:00pm ET to learn more about how we can help you take your invention from lab to market. We’ll share important details about the E-Team Program and answer your questions about eligibility and how to apply!

Register here.

Become a NYBPC student ambassador for Upstate Capital

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Syracuse LaunchPad students at a previous NYBPC competition

Upstate Capital is looking for the top entrepreneurial students at each college and university across New York State to become New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) student ambassadors. 

Being selected as an ambassador means:

  • Being seen as a young leader in the NYS innovation ecosystem
  • Spreading the word about the NYBPC and entrepreneurial resources with fellow students
  • Building your network and expanding your influence on campus
  • Gaining valuable skills including:
    • Developing and managing relationships
    • Public speaking and content creation
    • Recruiting and training volunteers
    • Event organization
  • Getting all the resources you need to succeed and some merch from the NYBPC

Ambassadors are influencers on campus who are sharing entrepreneurial resources and spreading the word about the NYBPC.

If you want to be considered as a NYBPC student ambassador, please APPLY NOW.  NYBPC will announce decisions by Friday, December 9. 

Applications open for the iSchool’s RvD iPrize featuring $20,000 in prizes

Student competition photo

The School of Information Studies (iSchool), with the support of Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries, is now accepting applications for the Raymond von Dran (RvD) iPrize Competition and the Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. The concurrent competitions, hosted by the LaunchPad, are open to all full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students at Syracuse University. The joint event will be held on Friday March 24 at Bird Library from 2 to 5 p.m.

Students can now apply through a simple Common Application which includes a one-page executive summary for a proposed product, service, technology, or creative enterprise that may become a for-profit or non-profit enterprise. A total of $20,000 is expected to be awarded through the RvD Fund to the top performing students in various categories.

LaunchPad mentors are available to work with applicants to prepare for a five-minute pitch and five minute Q&A session with an elite panel of judges. The LaunchPad will offer offer coaching workshops during the spring semester to prepare for the competition.

The RvD fund is named after former iSchool dean Raymond von Dran, who served from 1995 until his death in 2007. He was a longtime academic entrepreneur and a staunch supporter of student innovation and started many innovative programs in higher education. To honor his memory and ensure that her husband’s infectious spirit for innovation continued, his wife Gisela generously created the RvD Fund.

The Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards runs concurrently with the RvD iPrize and are funded through a gift to iSchool from the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund to celebrate the life of Hunter Brooks Watson. Watson was a Syracuse student studying information management at iSchool who tragically lost his life as a passenger in a distracted driver automobile accident in 2016. Watson demonstrated a strong gift and enthusiasm in music, computer technology, the performing arts, and entrepreneurship. The awards recognize students who have passionate interests but may not have the financial means to bring his ideas to life.

“Every year the excitement around these entrepreneurial and innovation competitions grows, and the quality of applications is always impressive,” says David Seaman, dean of Syracuse University Libraries and acting dean of the iSchool. “Cross-campus partnerships, like our strong collaboration with iSchool, is what makes Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries such a successful program.”

Apply here by March 10, 2023: https://bit.ly/iprize23

For more information or to schedule coaching, email LaunchPad@syr.edu