Asset firm commits $5M to help Miami college students create their own businesses

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – An asset firm committed $5 million to Miami colleges on Thursday to help students create their own businesses.

Blackstone, one of the largest asset firms in the country, made the announcement that the statewide program will be partnering with Miami colleges to help with insight, resources and funding opportunities.

“What we saw in Miami is a vibrant diverse community with a growing technology and financial services ecosystem,” said Blackstone CFO Michael Chae.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told Local 10′s Terrell Forney that people are betting on the city of Miami because of its inevitable growth and credits Blackstone for their partnership.

“The world is betting on Miami,” said Suarez. “The world sees this metamorphosis; this inflection point and the world is leading in but it’s being led by Blackstone.”

Under the entrepreneurial partnership, Blackstone Launchpad will now be based at 5 colleges or universities in the state offering students insight, resources and funding opportunities to create their own businesses.

Miami-Dade College and FIU are the only two current South Florida locations that have partnered with Blackstone.

“At the idea center, we help support them - build out that idea, build out that business plan- put together a pitch for it, looks for some of the investments,” said Madeline Pumariega, President of Miami-Dade College.

Nicole Huanuco, a senior at FIU, is already working on a creative virus-killing idea for public schools that uses UV light.

“They showed me that anyone can be an entrepreneur, even if the path that I’m going down has nothing to do with your major,” said Huanuco.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava encouraged anyone that has a business plan to reach for the stars because the city has high expectations for entrepreneurs.

“You are the talent--you’ve been scouted, and we are making big investments in you and we have great, great high expectations,” said Levine Cava.

For the very best ideas, there are opportunities for students to win cash prizes and plans for the program to expand to other colleges and universities in the Miami area.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.