BCC & Queensborough CC Join Forces for the Blackstone LaunchPad Innovation Challenge
After six intensive weeks of attending workshops, brainstorming business problems, identifying and interviewing potential customers, and testing ideas, students from Bronx Community College and Queensborough Community College demonstrated their newly acquired entrepreneurial expertise in the finale of the Blackstone LaunchPad Innovation Challenge. The Challenge, whose finale was held on March 28, is a key component of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s LaunchPad program, which provides students with the resources and opportunities to build next-generation companies and careers.
A total of 28 students from both campuses attended three workshops conducted by Julie Collins, an NSF-certified Innovation Corps (I-Corps) instructor, who taught students to get out of the building (virtually), identify a problem, establish a potential customer, and test an idea. Between the workshops, faculty mentors from QCC and BCC worked with students individually and guided them in interviewing customers and testing hypotheses.
At the finale, 19 students presented the problem they identified after interviewing 15 customers, along with their ideas to solve the problem based on the customer feedback and their analysis of the customer discovery process. Students focused on a range of problems, including such pressing social issues as homelessness, mental health, health care, gender equality, and LGBTQ inclusion.
Dayanna Torres, Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, attended the finale along with BCC President Dr. Thomas A. Isekenegbe, QCC President Dr. Christine Mangino, and Dr. Eddy Bayardelle, BCC Vice President for External Relations.
“We thank Blackstone and its Foundation President Dayanna Torres for making this collaboration with Queensborough Community College and its president, Dr. Mangino, possible,” President Isekenegbe remarked. “The Innovation Challenge brings out the best in our students and encourages them to develop an entrepreneurial mindset that will greatly benefit them in their future careers.”