By Valerie Morris
The Blackstone LaunchPad celebrated its arrival on LCCC’s campus in a grand opening ceremony Sept. 7. The organization partners with campuses to give students the tools they need to become successful entrepreneurs. LCCC is the first community college to partner with the Blackstone LaunchPad.
The grand opening offered attendees the chance to tour the new facility and learn more about what Blackstone LaunchPad offers. President of LCCC Dr. Roy Church welcomed the guests, who included representatives from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and members of the LCCC faculty and staff. Church emphasized the importance of having an organization like Blackstone LaunchPad become a part of LCCC.
“Innovation is the key to reaching our goals. What a wonderful complement this is to our other resources,” said Church.
The Blackstone LaunchPad had its soft opening Aug. 27 at the beginning of Welcome Week. By the end of the week, according to Church, 62 student profiles had been completed. He said this is characteristic of the people of Lorain County.
“Our region’s economic heritage was built on entrepreneurship,” said Church. “It didn’t take much for that good idea to spread through our community.”
Robert Campana, entrepreneur and developer, also spoke to the attendees. His words were directed at the Student Senate as he issued a challenge for them.
“The student council has the responsibility to take this back to the students. Secure the message to the student body. It could be one person you encourage to sign up, and they could create the next Google,” said Campana. “Don’t overlook anybody, because everybody is an opportunity.”
He also echoed Church’s comments about the spirit of Lorain County residents. “We want to make this a long-term relationship. I know we’re proud of this institution, we’re proud to be a part of this. You can be from northeast Ohio, but if you’re from Lorain County, you’re a part of Lorain County Community College,” said Campana.
Student Senate Executive Secretary Sarah McGervey took Campana’s message to heart.
“I think it’s a good reminder to Student Senate that we’re here for the students, to help them,” said McGervey. She said as an Early Childhood Education major, it was helpful to know the resources for someone in that field with the goal of opening up a daycare. Her plan for spreading the news about Blackstone LaunchPad is through talking to people in her classes or across campus.
“If someone has one idea, I want to tell them ‘I know a really great place you can get started.’ I’ll walk them over if I have to,” said McGervey, laughing.
Michael Substelny, an instructor in the Engineering Technologies Division and Distance Learning, was very pleased about the Blackstone LaunchPad.
“I’m teaching students in video game production. There are no video game production companies in Ohio,” said Substelny. “While they could work for independent companies, their best bet is starting their own company.”
Blackstone LaunchPad is located in LC 114, across from Financial Services. For more information, visit www.lorainccc.edu/blackstonelaunchpad, or call 440-366-4900.