Today’s college students are more engaged in social issues than any generation before them.
And their passion for social issues is spilling over into their professional and career choices - including entrepreneurship. More and more, burgeoning student entrepreneurs are demonstrating that they care more about having a social impact than turning large profits.
According to a report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an estimated one-third of all startups around the world are aimed at social good. And that’s especially true for younger generations of entrepreneurs. The report found that among entrepreneurs aged 18 to 34, there are more social entrepreneurs than commercial entrepreneurs. Confirming this trend, the 2020 Student Entrepreneurship Outlook survey, conducted by Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars, found that nearly two-thirds of respondents were motivated by their impact on societal change and creative problem-solving.
In response to this, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Techstars, and Future Founders are helping a new wave of social impact entrepreneurs this fall. The latest cohort of student founders in the LaunchPad Fellowship program is all motivated to make a difference in the world around them. These 40 founders are tackling social issues in the areas of healthcare, mental health, sustainability, education, employment, and more.
The fall cohort of students was chosen from more than 125 applicants. They represent a wide array of higher education institutions, including Cornell University, Trinity College Dublin, New York University, University of Central Florida, and several University of California and University of Texas system schools.
Selected startups include a subscription box for parents and teachers with resources addressing social justice topics, an app for teachers in developing countries that allow them to share videos on effective teaching practices without the internet, and a mental health service that offers a comprehensive, accessible platform to non-English speaking communities. Additionally, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact small businesses around the United States, one of the selected startups is working to connect small businesses that have been hurt commercially by the pandemic with volunteer university students and graduates with applicable skills.
Ballet & Books
Little Justice Leaders
Mindset & Milestones
Missouri M.A.D.E.: Mobilizing And Diversifying Elections
My Tele Heal
The Ant Network
TIED (Tapped In: Equitable Development)
Tyme for Survivors
During the eight-week virtual program, student fellows will take part in coaching sessions with LaunchPad Campus Directors, and receive mentoring from Blackstone Campus Ambassadors and Techstars Entrepreneurs and Advisors during a LaunchPad ‘Mentor Week.’ They’ll learn about leadership and team management; press, media, and digital marketing; and financing, fundraising, and budgeting.
Each fellow will also receive $5,000 in non-dilutive grant funding to support their time working on advancing their startup companies.
The LaunchPad Powered by Techstars initiative helps students succeed in entrepreneurship and in their careers.
To learn more about the fall cohort, check out the Fall 2020 LaunchPad Fellowship: Social Impact - Student Venture Lookbook. And to stay up to date on their progress, follow the hashtag #LaunchPadFellowship and @BXLaunchPad, @techstars and @FutureFounders on Twitter and LinkedIn.