Blackstone LaunchPad at UM Starts Student Diversity Coalition

March 24, 2016

MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s entrepreneurial incubator Blackstone LaunchPad will initiate a student Diversity Coalition to help eliminate barriers to entrepreneurship and encourage diverse participation.  

The coalition will comprise a maximum of 10 students who will work together to assist BLP-UM in identifying and addressing obstacles to entrepreneurship and innovation that students within the Montana University System community face. Beginning at the end of March, these students will brainstorm viable solutions to barriers and receive BLP-UM support to help implement them. A passion for entrepreneurship, innovation and diversity are the key requirements for participation in this coalition.

BLP-UM is an entrepreneurial center for students, alumni, faculty and staff at UM. The organization offers free services to assist entrepreneurs in turning their ideas, skills and passions into real-world businesses and nonprofit organizations through individualized coaching and venture creation support.

BLP-UM has served over 500 entrepreneurs since its inception and hopes to include more individuals who traditionally are underrepresented in business and entrepreneurship by actively working to engage students from all backgrounds, academic paths and interests. The Kauffman Foundation recently awarded a grant to BLP-UM to conduct research regarding female participation in entrepreneurship, specifically in the pre-entrepreneurial phase.

“This research will help us identify the obstacles women are facing in entrepreneurship, and with that information, help to break them down,” said Paul Gladen, director of BLP-UM.

For more information on how to suggest a student for the BLP-UM Diversity Coalition, email Olivia Carney at


Contact: Olivia Carney, Montana Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA, 406-426-8571,