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Bronx Community College received a $500,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to join its entrepreneurial program Blackstone LaunchPad Network (BLN).

Through this innovative program BCC is creating a culture of entrepreneurship in every corner of the campus. The grant provides students with an opportunity to build next generation companies and careers. It helps them succeed as entrepreneurs and contribute to the 21st century economy.

As part of the grant, four BCC students attended the Annual Blackstone LaunchPad four-day event in San Francisco in April. This event brought together students and staff from across the country providing opportunities to share best practices, brainstorming ideas for innovative programs and activities schools should have in order to succeed. It was also a chance to meet with CEOs of startup companies, venture capitalists and web developers, among others.

The students were selected because they were finalists from BCC in the nationwide BLN Competition in 2021.

They were Jennifer Arteta, Medical Lab Technician – December 2022, Kiran Khalid, Psychology and Computer Science – 2023, Mariyam Jones, Business Administration – December 2021 and Elhadj Barry, Biology – 2021.

Dr. Eddy Bayardelle, BCC Vice President for External Relations and Orlando Lopez, Director of Community Outreach for Workforce Development, joined the students.

Dr. Eddy Bayardelle said, “This was an extraordinary opportunity for our students. They shared their business ideas with their counterparts at other schools, met successful entrepreneurs and interacted with potential investors. We want to thank Dayanna Torres, a director at the Blackstone Charitable Foundation for making this possible.”

The students received invaluable feedback about their business models.

Jennifer Arteta currently runs a pet boarding service. She wants to expand this into a for profit pet care business where pet owners can pay for veterinarian bills, grooming, boarding and training by creating a membership subscription service that would fund this. Her nonprofit company would help animal rescue organizations find homes for their animals.

She noted, “I met so many incredible people including an APP developer who offered to help me set up an APP that would be like an Expedia for pets where people could get all the resources in their area that they need for their pets.”

Venus is a phone software that competes against Apple’s IOS and androids and provides an emotionally intelligent bot that analyzes and transforms the user’s daily habits into a healthy routine. This is Kiran Khalid’s idea for a business. She wants to solve the fact that phones are made to distract users and cause decay in emotional intelligence. Her business differs from her competitors in how the software analyzes the user’s thoughts, dreams, memories and feelings.

Kiran said, “This was a great opportunity to meet so many people in the tech sector, who gave me great ideas to move forward with my business.”

Elhadj Barry is developing a business that will improve the accessibility for African immigrants to college level education while at the same time increasing the graduation rate for this cohort.

The interest I receive for my business was incredibility helpful. This is a very specific business model. However, the people I networked with saw it be very viable, which was important to me,” said Elhadj

A licensed cosmetologist and BCC graduate, Mariyam Jones has created a platform for a non-profit that addressed hair loss by helping people get wigs. “I have been an entrepreneur for many years. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with other student entrepreneurs to hear their stories. It was great to network with so many motivated people,” Mariyam stated.

The next steps in the BLN program are to create a pipeline of events and competitions at the College. BCC is also developing an AAS degree in entrepreneurship.

Three BCC students have been selected to participate in a paid Summer Fellowship Program sponsored by Blackstone LaunchPad. In order to be accepted into the 2022 Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship students had to have a website and logo for their start-up. Congratulations to Jennifer Arteta, Kiran Khalid and Jules Doua who were chosen for this program.

The BCC Blackstone LaunchPad mentors students throughout their entrepreneurial journey. Create an account on StartupTree to register for workshops designed to spark creativity, opportunities for mentorship​, and programs to advance your innovative ideas.



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