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Join Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp with the LaunchPad at the University of Texas at Austin, applications due by Friday, May 26

Join the Launchpad at the University of Texas at Austin for an Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp (EMB). It’s a four-week virtual bootcamp (meets once a week) to help undergraduate and advanced students to learn an entrepreneurial approach to work and life.

This bootcamp is for both students wanting to start their own businesses and those wanting to cultivate entrepreneurial skills for the modern workforce. Check out this 3-min video to learn more!

This event is FREE and open to all undergraduate and advanced students at any school in the Blackstone LaunchPad network.


  • Develop your confidence as an entrepreneurial leader
  • Learn tangible skills such as how to approach solving a business problem, pitching, prototyping, etc.
  • Find a community of like-minded students across the United States


  • Undergraduate or advanced student at any university within the Blackstone LaunchPad Network
  • Any major and background
  • Curious and open to learning about entrepreneurship skills
  • Open to collaborating with peers and participating in workshop exercises – this is not a lecture-based experience! 


  • Deadline to Apply: Friday, May 26th, 2023 at 11:55 PM ET
  • Program Dates (Thursdays): July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27
  • Program Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET 
  • Program Location: Virtual 

Learn more here.

Photo credit: LaunchPad at UT Facebook

Motolani Oladitan ‘24 named 2023-2024 Syracuse University Remembrance Scholar

Congratulations to Motolani Oladitan ’24 on being named one of 35 students selected as 2023-24 Syracuse University Remembrance Scholars.  The scholarships, now in their 34th year, were founded as a tribute to—and means of remembering—the students studying in London and Florence through Syracuse University who were killed in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Those students were among the 270 people who perished in the bombing. The scholarships are a philanthropic gift through an endowment supported by gifts from alumni, friends, parents and corporations.

Significant support for the Remembrance Scholarships has been provided by Jean Thompson ’66 and Syracuse University Life Trustee Richard L. Thompson G’67 in memory of Jean Taylor Phelan Terry ’43 and John F. Phelan, Jean Thompson’s parents; by Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Steven Barnes ’82 and Deborah Barnes; by The Syracuse Association of Zeta Psi in memory of Alexander Lowenstein; and by the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oladitan is an incoming senior majoring in psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences. She recently engaged the LaunchPad for her venture, Ta, a virtual marketplace connecting African beauty and wellness brands with the diaspora, making it easier for consumers to discover and purchase high-quality, authentic African products.

Oladitan first won the Afropreneurship Challenge, then Raymond von Dran iPrize, Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship award, and second place at the campus wide Panasci Business Plan Competition all this year as an undergraduate.

The original story appears here.

Congratulations to Alesandra Temerte ’23 on being named Syracuse University Scholar

Alesandra Temerte ’23 (College of Arts and Sciences) and Chancellor Kent Syverud at the University Scholar Reception on May, 10, 2023

Congratulations to Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow, Alesandra “Sasha” Temerte ’23 on being named one of 12 seniors selected as 2023 Syracuse University Scholars, the highest undergraduate honor that the University bestows.  The distinction honors academic achievement, independent research and creative work, intellectual growth and innovation.

Temerte is a double major in economics and writing and rhetoric studies, with minors in Spanish and strategic management. She is a Coronat Scholar, a 2022-23 Remembrance Scholar. 2022-23 Luise and Morton Kaish Fellow, Syracuse Abroad Global Ambassador, member of the Renée Crown Honors Program, and member several university honor societies.

She has been a compassionate and expert student peer mentor throughout her tenure at Syracuse University, working with other students on social impact enterprises. Her work as a peer mentor has been truly exceptional. She put her passion for creating good to work in the LaunchPad as the campus director for the Hult Prize, a global competition that is regarded as the Nobel Prize for student impact entrepreneurship.

In addition to this, Temerte is also an entrepreneur herself. She co-founded Pathway Prep alongside Mauricio Luna ’24. Pathway Prep empowers high school students from foreign countries and immigrant families to apply to U.S. universities through standardized test prep, English tutoring, essay advising, and college matching services.

She has been a powerful voice for multicultural and intersectional issues, as well as for environmental sustainability and social responsibility. She has an incredible passion for impact entrepreneurship as well as important issues around diversity, inclusion, and equity, as well as cultural literacy and competence.

“Sasha is multi-talented, with a maturity that enables her to work at a very advanced professional level. She is an excellent strategic thinker, capable of handling complex challenges that require multi-faceted critical thinking. She inspires, motivates, and teaches, while all the while also maintaining sense of humor and common sense. She excels at all she does, as evidenced by balancing her classroom work, her own entrepreneurial social enterprise, and a commitment to scholarship and service on campus and in the community,” says Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Founder of Syracuse Blackstone LaunchPad and Strategic Advisor at SU Libraries. “She is so deserving of this highest honor, and I look forward to how she will continue to make Syracuse proud as a successful alum and future leader who will be an innovator and change-maker wherever her life journey takes her.”

The other 2023 Syracuse University Scholars are: Chelsea Brown, Dara Drake, Kiersten Edwards, Grace Haas, Adam Klinger, Julianna Mercado, Ruchatneet Printup, Maggie Sardino, Savannah Stocker, Amreeta Verma, and Michaela Walsh. Read the full article here

Congratulations to all!

33 SU graduates join Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Founders Circle

Founders Circle 2023 members Natasha Brao ’22, G’23 (Whitman) and Kelly Davis ’23 (Whitman)

Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad welcomed 33 graduates as new members of the Founders Circle.  They were selected in recognition of launching or leading ventures at Syracuse University while students, as well as significantly contributing to building the Blackstone LaunchPad since it opened in April 2016.  Founders Circle members serve as alumni role models and mentors for future student entrepreneurs who also exemplify a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Founders Circle Class of 2023 and their ventures include:

  • Jack Adler, 23′ Whitman, Founder of Out2Win
  • Sai Krishna Bolla ’23 School, Founder of Cognition X
  • Raul Chakraborty, ’23 iSchool, Co-Founder of Athletify
  • Season Chowdhury, ’23 Engineering and Computer Science, Co-Founder of Athetify
  • Alexandria Cianfarani, ’23 iSchool, Founder of Clubmatch
  • Bailey Davis, ’23 Newhouse and Maxwell, Founder of Zeal
  • Kelly Davis, ’23 Whitman and Newhouse, Founder of Womanly
  • Benjamin Delmarsh, ’22 VPA, Founder of Afterlife AR
  • Adore Amore Ellis, ’23 VPA, Founder of MadebyAdore
  • Benjamin Ford, ’23 iSchool, Founder of FundWurx
  • Justin Gluska, ’23 Engineering and Computer Science, Founder of BusPoint and the ChatGPT Promptbook
  • Nicholas Graham, ’23 Law and Whitman, LaunchPad Venture Associate
  • Robert Goldblatt, ’23 Whitman, Founder of Tree-Spun
  • Sydnee Grosso, ’23 Falk and Maxwell, LaunchPad Global Fellow
  • Samuel Holland, ’23 Whitman and Newhouse, Innovator in Residence
  • Claire Howard, ’23 Maxwell, LaunchPad Global Fellow
  • Murray Lebovitz, ’23 Whitman, Founder of Keep Coffee Casual
  • Carlos Magdaleno ’23 Newhouse
  • Zebedayo Masongo, ’23 Law, Founder of Grnwood
  • Jordan Pierre, ’23 Newhouse, Founder of Voice
  • Gabriel Ruoff, ’23 Engineering and Computer Science, CTO of Zorse Cyber, Inc.
  • Alexandra Santangelo, ’23 VPA, Launch Star
  • Maya Tsimmer ’23 Newhouse and Whitman, Founder of Bethel Sweet Honey
  • Zachary Stahl ’23 College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Connor Tarpey, ’23 iSchool, Founder of Immersive Media
  • Alesandra Temerte, ’23 A&S, Co-Founder of Pathway Prep

Founders Circle Class of 2023 members who stayed on at Syracuse University this past year to pursue graduate degrees include:

  • Natasha Brao ’22 VPA, G’23 Whitman, Founder of Holy Egg and Natasha Lauren Design
  • Noah Mechnig-Giordano ’22, G’23 Whitman and ECS, Founder of Happy Loose-Leaf Tea
  • Vanessa Lora ’18, G’23 Newhouse, Founder of Vanessa Lora Music
  • Aidan Mickleburgh ’22, G’23 Whitman and ECS, Founder of Intervea
  • Kai Patricio ’23 VPA, Founder of Farm Loop, Co-Founder of Remend and Intellegence++
  • Jack Ramza ’22, G’23 Whitman, Rubin Family Innovation Mentor
  • Rabia Razza ’23 VPA, Founder of Remend

The group was inducted by LaunchPad Founder Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Director Traci Geisler, along with Dean of the SU Libraries David Seaman. Syracuse University Libraries honored our 2022-2023 LaunchPad Senior Staff as part of the SU Libraries Family with additional cords to highlight the important work they do.

“Syracuse University has every right to be proud of these innovative, industrious, and successful young women and men as they go out into the world,” said Dean David Seaman.  “The library has provided them a space in which to work, staff expertise, and a rigorous set of programming to help develop their ideas, and they have created a community of innovation that continues to grow.  We look forward to having them come back to campus as young alumni and staying in touch with us – and each other – through the Founders Circle.”

Dean of SU Libraries David Seaman (left) and Alexandra Cianfarani ’23 iSchool, Founder of Clubmatch (right)

During the program, LaunchPad Global Fellow Claire Howard ’23 (Maxwell) introduced the inaugural Innovator for Change Award in honor of Linda Dickerson Hartsock to recognize one student who have embodied fearlessness and tenacious in their pursuit of change, disruption, or innovation for the greater good. Nominated by peers, join us in congratulating Justin Gulska ’23 (ECS).

“The Class of 2023 Founders Circle joins an elite group of student innovators who have created startup ventures, experiential initiatives, or student organizations. Most have also achieved distinction as academic researchers and scholars.  We are so proud of them and their contributions to building the community that is at the heart of the LaunchPad at SU Libraries and its standing as one of the top performing student innovation hubs in the country.  They have exemplified leadership in every sense of the word and have been equally focused on creating meaningful impact. They are truly global citizens and will continue to be change makers in an entrepreneurial world. They exemplify our value system, and we know that they will continue to pay it forward as mentors to those who follow, inspiring them with their intellect and wisdom, kindness and continued accomplishments,” said Linda Dickerson Hartsock.

Justin Gulska ’23 (left) awarded the inaugural 2023 Innovator for Change Award presented by Claire Howard ’23 (right)

“The LaunchPad during my college years has been a catalyst for creativity, intellectual challenge, and mutually supportive community in my life. Every day I spent in the LaunchPad was a day where I exchanged ideas with brilliant individuals and came away with a sense of fascination for the world around me,” said Claire Howard. “Post-graduation, I’ll be moving to Washington D.C. and working as a Research Analyst for the Department of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Stability Oversight Council.”

Learn more about the Blackstone LaunchPad and Founders Circle here.

Ethan Tyo ’17 G’22 selected for prestigious Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship

Ethan Tyo ’17 (iSchool) and G ’22 (Falk, Food Studies) was selected for the prestigious Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship, a 7-week immersive program designed to support student entrepreneurs across the 46-university network. Run in partnership with Future Founders, the 2023 Summer Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship will empower student startups with entrepreneurial resources, mentorship, education, and financial assistance. Student participants will benefit from a community of fellow student entrepreneurs that will motivate them to explore and build on their ideas, and further develop their skills as founders.

Participating student founders will receive a grant to support their time working on advancing their entrepreneurial ventures, as well as other resources and support, including weekly workshops, community-building activities, and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and executives in the LaunchPad network. The program also includes intensive LaunchPad campus director coaching sessions.

The LaunchPad Fellowship program has grown into a signature program of the Blackstone LaunchPad network.  It is funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and coordinated through the Blackstone LaunchPad network and Future Founders. 

Tyo will be working on the startup he founded as a student at Syracuse University. Alternative engage people in experiences across the food system that are grounded in the Indigenous values of community, sustainability and land. It shed light on such issues through educational efforts. For instance, Tyo worked with the Native Student Program to create a series of workshops and events around traditional Haudenosaunee foodways, including the Three Sisters Garden dedication. This work has led to collaborations with academic departments at Syracuse to infuse Indigenous knowledge into curricula as well as establishing cultural sites at neighboring universities and partnering with museums.

He is a mentor at Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad, and has been named as Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholar, using his role to bring more awareness to indigenous issues withing the entrepreneurial community.

LaunchPad members Alex Levy ’25 and Sam Schreiber ’25 take home $10,000 at 2023 Intelligence++ Competition

Alex Levy, a junior in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and Sam Schreiber, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, won the 2023 edition of the Intelligence++ design competition, held on April 21 in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

Runners-up were the teams of Carolyn Fernandes ’23 and Cassia Soodak ’25; Chase Coleman ’27 (InclusiveU), Domenic Gallo ’23, and Bella Young ’23; and Kate Allyn ’26 (InclusiveU), Jillian Castle ’25 (InclusiveU), and Wyatt Gillespie ’23.

Optimal Assessment, Levy’s and Schreiber’s winning design, is a course planning application that takes instructors through steps that encourage them to think about the different ways they can facilitate learning and assessment, helping them design courses that meet the individual learning styles of students, guided by data.

A collaboration among Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse Libraries, the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) School of Design, and Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, Intelligence++ is an interdisciplinary initiative focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, design, and community. The project is available to both undergraduate and graduate students across the University, including students with intellectual disability from InclusiveU, a Taishoff Center program.

The 2023 competition was judged by Erik Geizer, CEO, The Arc New York; Chris Kennedy McKelvy, Founder, K Ventures, Vice Chair, Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation, and former Head of Partnerships, Oculus VR; and Matthew Van Ryn, Founder, Law Office of Matthew Van Ryn PLLC, and Business Counselor, New York State Small Business Development Center. Program donor Gianfranco Zaccai ’70, H’09, was on hand to offer teams advice about intelligent, inclusive innovation by design.

Also providing comments were Professor Don Carr, Program Coordinator, MFA in Design and Industrial and Interaction Design, VPA; Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Founder, Blackstone LaunchPad; Alex McKelvie, Interim Dean, Whitman School; Professor Beth Myers, Executive Director, Taishoff Center; and David Seaman, Dean, SU Libraries, and Interim Dean, School of Information Studies.

The competition’s showrunner was Ben Ford ’23, a previous Intelligence++ winner and Founder of Fundwurx, an all-in-one platform to automate and streamline corporate social responsibility efforts.

Intelligence++ Competition 2023 Inclusive Designs & Teams

DoorWays App
Zhengrong Chai, Yajie Lan ’23, Jonathon Rossi ’23, and Noah Soliman ’26
An AI-powered app that addresses social challenges faced by individuals, particularly neurodivergent students, in large community contexts. It provides personalized recommendations for activities and friends based on the user’s interests and personality.

Wear-it Fidgit Cuff-it
Carolyn Fernandes ’23 and Cassia Soodak ’25A collection of fidget devices for neurodivergent people working in professional environments, designed to provide stimulation for the hands. The discrete fidgets are attached to a cuff, hidden by fabric matching the sleeve.

Optimal Assessment
Alex Levy ’24 and Sam Schreiber ’25A course planning application that takes instructors through steps that encourage them to think about the different ways they can facilitate learning and assessment, potentially helping them design courses that meet individual learning styles of students, guided by data.

Sensory Pod
Riley Blumenthal ’23, Wyatt Gillespie ’23, and Jessica Mitchell ’23A small enclosure which combats the effects of sensoryprocessing disorder. This product aims to serve as a space for children who are overwhelmed, agitated, or upset.

Chase Coleman ’27 (InclusiveU), Domenic Gallo ’23, and Bella Young ’23 A design research project that explores the implementation of emerging technologies into Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools. The research aims to create generalized translation tools for people who rely on nonverbal speech methods to allow for seamless adaptation to verbal conversation.

Ryan Brouchoud ’25 and Adya Parida ’25AI-powered adaptive learning software to support children with disabilities. This software offers personalized learning experiences based on individual needs and abilities, while incorporating multiple teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles.

Kate Allyn ’26 (InclusiveU), Jillian Castle ’25 (InclusiveU), and Wyatt Gillespie ’23Sensory-friendly clothing that promotes comfort and well-being for individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder. The Sense Hoodie is designed with the four primary drivers of SPD discomfort in mind: auditory, tactile, visual, and proprioceptive.

Never Sew Alone
Kate Allyn (InclusiveU), Christina Alicia May, and Vineet Narayan ’25 (InclusiveU)A non-profit that empowers individuals to create their own vision of art through textiles. Through a series of creative workshops, neurodivergent community members are guided through projects that merge artistic expression with the development of skills such as sewing, embroidery, quilting, and similar crafts.

To learn more about Intelligence++, visit

Sweet Send-off for LaunchPad Graduates on Friday, May 12 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

It’s a cake party! Stop by the Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library on Friday, May 12 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. for a “Senior Launch Party” celebrating Syracuse innovators who are graduating. Seniors, their friends and families, as well as all LaunchPad program participants, are invited to come enjoy festive cake, and share memories, and plans for the future.

We have loved working with you through the Blackstone LaunchPad program and wish you all the best as you start the exciting next chapter of your journey. We know that you will be innovation leaders wherever you go!

Come say farewell and good luck and enjoy some friendship and good spirit before graduation day.  Please bring family and friends.

If you can’t make it on Friday, we’re having donuts for parents on Saturday, May 13th 10:00 to 12:00 p.m.

Congratulations, Class of 2023!

Four Syracuse teams move on the New York State Business Plan Competition this week

Four teams of Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad were recently selected as winners of the CNY Region Business Plan Competition advancing to the next round of the New York State Business Plan Competition finals this week.

The teams and their affiliations are:

  • Many Hands, founder Travis Ghirdharie G’22 of Syracuse University
  • Pathway Prep, co-founders Mauricio Luna ’24 and Alesandra “Sasha” Temerte ’23 of Syracuse University
  • GeekOn- Colgate University
  • CognitionX, founder Sai Krishna Bolla G’23 of Syracuse University
  • Game-On – SUNY Oswego
  • Conformabelt, founder Cherry Kim ’24 of Syracuse University

The CNY regional qualifier was organized by SUNY Oswego.  It was open to any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a Central New York college or university, including Syracuse University, Colgate University, Le Moyne College, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Cortland, Wells College, Cazenovia College, Upstate Medical University, OCC, and CCC.

Student teams will go on to the state competition, organized by the Upstate Capital Association of NY. Learn more about the April 27 NYSBPC here: and follow the NYSBPC action here:

Congratulations to the 2023 Panasci Business Plan Competition winners

Assistant Professor Cristiano Bellavitis (left) and Fundwurx founder Ben Ford ’23 (right), grand prize winner

Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad teams, Fundwurx, Tà, and Zeal won the first, second and third place in the campus wide Panasci Business Plan Competition.

$20,000 Grand prize went to Ben Ford ‘23 (Whitman), founder of Fundwurx, a data science driven giving platform that uses state of the art machine learning technology to better connect a younger generation of donors with non-profits. Learn more

Ta founder Motolani Oladitan ’24 and her father, second place winner

Second place award of $7,500 went to Motolani Oladitan ’24 (A&S), founder of Tà, a virtual marketplace connecting African beauty and wellness brands with the diaspora, making it easier for consumers to discover and purchase high-quality, authentic African products.

Oladitan also won the Afropreneurship Challenge, Raymond von Dran iPrize, and Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award all this year as an undergraduate.

Assistant Professor Cristiano Bellavitis (left) and Zeal founder Bailey Davis ’23 (right), third place winner

Third place prize of $2,500 was awarded to Bailey Davis ‘23 (Newhouse) after pitching Zeal, a Web3 magazine focusing on fashion, art, and culture. In addition, Davis received the Gilded Social Rising Entrepreneur Award of $5,000 funded by Scott Friedberg ’14.

The Whitman Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Jack Adler ‘23, founder of Out2Win Sports. To date, Adler has built legitimate traction with Out2Win, and has the goal of continuing to build the venture past his days as a college student.

Also receiving a special recognition was Natasha Brao ‘22 G’23 for the Graduate Student Entrepreneurship award. This award is present for exhibiting the most entrepreneurial leadership out of the Graduate class.

Honorable mention to Noah Mechnig-Giordano ’22 G’23, founder of Happy Loose-Leaf Tea and Aidan Mickleburgh ’23 G’23, founder of Intervea.

 Rubin Family Innovation Mentors Noah Mechnig-Giordano ’22 G’23, founder of Happy Loose Leaf Tea (left), Aidan Mickleburgh ’23 G’23, founder of Intervea, Ben Ford ‘23 (Whitman), founder of Fundwurx, and Jack Adler ‘23, founder of Out2Win Sports (right).

Jack Adler ’23 reflects on headlining 2023 Penn State Sports Business Conference

NIL Agencies Panel at 2023 Penn State Sports Business Conference. Jack Adler, CEO of Out2Win Sports (left), Ayden Syal, CEO of MOGL, Doug Fillis, Founder of Accelerate Sports Ventures, and moderator Miles Jordan (right)

Jack Adler ’23 recently returned to Pennsylvania as a panelist at the 2023 Penn State Sports Business Conference to share his knowledge of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) and how the industry will help college athletes grow in the future. He described it as, “a fantastic event that brought together a diverse group of sport business professionals and students.”

The Penn State Sports Business Conference provides professionals the opportunity to connect with students pursuing a career in the sports industry. It featured various keynote speakers, including NFL Veteran and Entrepreneur, Brandon Copeland and Mason Champion from Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment. Along with representatives from Vayner Sports, 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Out2Win Sports and more.

“I had the privilege of speaking on the “Name, Image, and Likeness” panel, where I discussed the current trends within the industry alongside three other experts. The panel provided a valuable platform to share my experiences and insights, and I enjoyed engaging with the attendees in a lively discussion,” says Adler.

Adler is a dynamic senior studying Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises and Marketing Management in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He is the founder and CEO of Out2Win Sports, a creative marketing agency helping college athletes and brands take advantage of NIL. To date, Adler has built legitimate traction with Out2Win, and has the goal of continuing to build the venture past his days as a college student.

He is a Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneur in residence and mentor who assist fellow students who are in the process of developing their own ideas for ventures. He has created employment and internship opportunities for Syracuse University students as the company has scaled.

In addition to paneling, his company, Out2Win Sports tabled the event to connect with students seeking recruitment opportunities and representatives from other companies such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Harris & Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, and Wasserman.

The event brought together students, alumni, and professionals in 41 of the 50 states, 13 countries, and 5 of the 7 continents.

Photo credit: @PennStateSBC