LaunchNET Kent State Extends Entrepreneurial Reach With Renewed Funding From Burton D. Morgan Foundation
Thanks to the renewal of its key funding grant, LaunchNET Kent State will continue to inspire the entrepreneur mindset and support innovative thinkers across the Kent State University community. Burton D. Morgan Foundation announced an award of up to $350,000 will be granted to support the LaunchNET initiative at Kent State through June 2023.
“We are incredibly grateful to Burton D. Morgan Foundation for its support of our Kent State entrepreneurs and innovators, especially as they continue to pivot their ventures and find opportunities for success during these unique times,” said Zach Mikrut, interim director of LaunchNET Kent State.
LaunchNET Kent State (formerly Blackstone LaunchPad) has been in existence since 2012. Since that time, the office has supported more than 2,000 entrepreneurs on a variety of ventures ranging from T-shirt companies and micro-satellite launch systems to freelance projects and software applications. Program alumni have founded companies that include Remesh, Anne Cate and Sauce the City.
In addition to annual signature events, such as the Elevator Pitch Competition (held in an actual elevator) and specialized collaborations like All the CEO Ladies (in partnership with the Kent State Women’s Center), LaunchNET walks the entrepreneurial walk by creating new programs to meet client demand. This year, LaunchNET is piloting the Black Women Bosses program and has recently expanded its services to assist Kent State departments in using entrepreneurial thinking to address challenges.
“We work hard to find new ways to serve the needs of our entrepreneurs each semester, and we are thrilled to be able to continue to create these opportunities and collaborations,” said Tabitha Messmore, interim assistant director of LaunchNET Kent State. “We could not be more excited to have the ability to continue growing our services and offering our expertise across the university landscape.”
Looking forward, LaunchNET, newly located in Kent State’s Design Innovation (DI) Hub, will be exploring new possibilities for design challenges, hackathons and prototype support. Additionally, LaunchNET and the university’s Design Innovation Initiative will soon launch the pilot cohort for the Marty Erbaugh (I3) Lab, a program that includes mentorship, rapid prototyping, launch advising and office space opportunities for Kent State entrepreneurs.
Kent State Dean of University Libraries Ken Burhanna reaffirmed the support saying, “We are glad to have the continued generosity from Burton D. Morgan Foundation for the unique and strong program that is LaunchNET Kent State. LaunchNet continues to impress with its wide range of activities and entrepreneurial programming for the university community.”
For more information about LaunchNET Kent State, please visit www.kent.edu/launchnet.
About LaunchNet Kent State
LaunchNET Kent State is a cocurricular, cross-campus program that serves students, alumni, staff and faculty to promote entrepreneurial thinking, innovative mindset, creative collaboration and venture creation through advising, events and connections to the Greater Northeast Ohio community. Questions or comments can be directed to LaunchNET via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 330-672-6700.
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Zach Mikrut (second from right), interim director of LaunchNET Kent State, meets with Kent State University student entrepreneurs in the LaunchNET office in spring 2019.