Blackstone Launchpad at Kent State University provides guidance and supports students, faculty, and alumni who are small business owners at any level in order to make young entrepreneurs’ dreams happen.
Matt Allen, Kent State’s Blackstone Launchpad student employee, said Blackstone is “a free service that allows students, faculty, and alumni who are starting a business or who already have started a business get guidance.
LowkeyLinks and Centerpeace Yoga and Wellness Center, are two businesses in Kent, Ohio who said they received help from Kent State University’s Blackstone Launchpad over the last year.
LowkeyLinks and Centerpeace Yoga and Wellness Center have shown growth in the last month. LowkeyLinks is an app, created by a Kent State student, available on IOS devices now and launches fully in three weeks according to its founder. Centerpeace Yoga and Wellness Center opened Jan 1, 2015 and owners say they have 400 clients in their system.
“We’re not big professional business people, we are not Shark Tank, we are not going to sit you here and rip your idea a part in front of you, or at all.” Allen said. “We strive to guide you because if anything it will benefit you to know what works and what doesn’t and maybe a new business idea will come off of that.”
Founder of LowkeyLinks, Brad Baumeister, Kent State senior majoring in Communications Studies, said he came to Blackstone two years ago when he transferred as a sophomore. He said he began with an online video sharing website he started up, and when he came to Blackstone the employees helped him transform his website into a mobile application.
“I would just go in there and meet with Kate and Zach (Blackstone employees)” Baumeister said, “and we would just throw out tons of ideas and we would just take steps after each meeting and would have something to go off of.”
“It’s a great, free resource to get help at any stage of your business” Nicole Catalano, founder of Centerpeace Yoga and Wellness Center, said.
Last spring, Nichole Catalano and Amanda Edwards said they came to Blackstone during the final steps to opening their business. They said Blackstone helped them mostly with marketing and getting the word out about their new business.
“I would say if we [had] known about it sooner, we might have reached out to them sooner.” Edwards said, “I think that if we would have went to Blackstone they would have had [information] right at our figure tips and would have helped with the things that took us hours to research.”