By: Angelina Salvador
The Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business at CSI will be launching a new and promising initiative for entrepreneurs: The Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition. “Anyone can get involved,” said CSI alumna Natalia Sandor. “The Ideas Competition is for anyone who wants to solve problems, come up with new ideas, share their creativity with others, and make connections.”
Sandor now works for the Chazanoff School as a Blackstone LaunchPad Coordinator. She encourages students from all majors, backgrounds, and interests to show up and participate in the Blackstone LaunchPad network. An entrepreneur herself, Sandor started a business in college during the second semester of her freshman year.
For students who are hesitant, Sandor encourages them to take advantage of these new resources. “This is for whoever is interested. There is a stigma that entrepreneurship/entrepreneurs are just those pretending to be business owners. Rather, this is a mindset. It is complex and encompasses leadership, thinking, and problem solving.” There are many opportunities for students, such as workshops that deal with the basics of business, pitching, and articulating ideas. “Anyone who wants to learn about entrepreneurship can certainly learn,” said Sandor.
The LaunchPad Ideas Competition is coming up. The deadline to apply is October 25th, 2021. Anyone with an idea just fills out a form! There will be four categories in which to submit an idea. In each category, one submission by a CSI student or team (limit of two students per team) will receive a cash prize of $1,000 each. Additionally, these finalists will advance to a national round of the competition for an opportunity to win a grand prize of $10,000. CSI will also grant the following additional cash prizes: 1) $500 for the runner-up in each category, 2) $1,000 for the best idea proposed by a veteran, 3) $1,000 for best overall idea.
The Network Round follows the Campus Round of the Ideas Competition. Winners of the Campus Round will advance to the Network Round in order to compete for a prize of $10,000. Other events can be found on CSI’S StartupTree website.
What do students need to know?
These competitions are open to anyone, especially “those who feel creative.” Sandor explained. “Entrepreneurs are simply people who have an idea and make it into a business, product, or company. They can be a small business owner or sell their idea.” Sandor said.
Sandor gives examples of how many different students can get involved. Students in CSI’s nursing school, engineers, or even English majors can obtain information by taking a business class, attending a speaker series, or attending a workshop.
“Everything is new, as we are just starting out,” Sandor explained. “We are trying to assess what CSI students need. While we are in the beginning stages of developing programs, there will be unique opportunities coming soon.”
While a webpage for CSI’s Blackstone LaunchPad network is under construction, interested students can visit @launchpad_CSI on Instagram. In addition, more information about events and opportunities can be found at https://csi.startuptree.co/
In addition to Sandor, CSI’s LaunchPad network will be overseen by Susan L. Holak, Administrative Leader and Founding Dean of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business. Heidi Bertels, a faculty member of the Department of Management, will assume the roles of Co-Director and Academic Champion. Mark Stroud, a faculty member in the Department of Economics, will assist Bertels in the role of Co-Director.
Questions? Please reach out to CSI’s Blackstone LaunchPad team at LaunchPad@csi.cuny.edu.