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UCF Blackstone LaunchPad


UCF is the cornerstone within the foundation of Orlando’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. From unique business competitions and events to the UCF Blackstone LaunchPad, students have access to services and opportunities to acquire and perfect the skills of an entrepreneur.

Programs and Resources


Blackstone LaunchPad

Located in the Student Union, the Blackstone LaunchPad provides one-on-one startup coaching, seminars and access to a mentor network and subject matter experts. Students have access to free services that are free and without any obligations, to pursue their ideas and dreams. Counselors provide feedback and resources to help students learn how to build their business. The Blackstone UCF LaunchPad has quickly become a leader in the program, which boasts 10 similar programs at universities around the country.

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Jesse Wolfe and O'Dang Hummus receive best student-run venture at the Blackstone LaunchPad Demo Day in New York City.

Starter Lab

The Starter Lab is a workspace where students of all disciplines can collaborate on new venture ideas. The space’s tools available to students include a 3-D printer, whiteboards, sewing machines, electrical tools and software-equipped iMacs. The space is designed for student ventures and those with aspirations to configure the room for meetings to hat help them achieve their objectives.

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Upstarts is a student venture accelerator program intended to generate foster and facilitate interest in entrepreneurship as a career path. The program is open to all UCF students through a competitive application process. Students engaged with the UCF Blackstone LaunchPad can graduate to earn office space and resources in the Upstarts program. Unique benefits also include the ability to work with and collaborate with other student starters sharing space in the accelerator.

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Events and Competitions


Starter Riot

This disruptive event encourages students to seek out the entrepreneurial resources available to them at UCF and throughout the Central Florida community. It attracts more than 2,000 students each year, and Hosted is held dduring Halloween, it attracts more than 2,000 students each year. It and features nationally renowned entrepreneurial speakers like Hollis Wilder (@holliswilder), and Rocket Hub (@rockethub) CEO Brian Meece.

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Alexandra Gramatikas, '12, co-founder of ALTR.

The Joust

UCF students from all academic disciplines are invited to compete in this business plan competition for cash awards and essential business services needed to start a venture. Teams compete in two rounds of presentations similar to the television show Shark Tank – including with judges who that are corporate business leaders, entrepreneurs, and educators. The Joust provides students with experience and access to people and resources that will help get their business started, product to market, or a venture funded.

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bSteps Dancewear founders Odaimys Calderin and Caroline Castille.

Business Model Competition

This event allows students to test their ideas with potential customers and partners, and use what they learn to improve their proposals. The champion is invited to compete at the international level. This is a preliminary competition for the International Business Model Competition and provides students with an opportunity to qualify and compete with peers from around the world. Unlike the business plan competition, this program rewards students for developing the business assumptions, testing them against market information, and then pivoting and changing the plan based on what they learn.

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