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Thanks to the renewal of their key funding grant, LaunchNET Kent State will continue to
inspire the entrepreneur mindset and support innovative thinkers across the Kent State
University community. Burton D. Morgan Foundation announced an award of up to
$350,000 will be granted to support the LaunchNET initiative at Kent State University
through June 2023.
“We are incredibly grateful to Burton D. Morgan Foundation for their support of our Kent
State entrepreneurs and innovators, especially as they continue to pivot their ventures
and find opportunities for success during these unique times,” said Zach Mikrut, interim
director of LaunchNET Kent State.
LaunchNET Kent State (formerly Blackstone LaunchPad) has been in existence since
2012. Since that time, the office has supported more than 2,000 entrepreneurs on a
variety of ventures ranging from T-shirt companies and micro-satellite launch systems to
freelance projects and software applications. Program alumni have founded companies
that include Remesh, Anne Cate and Sauce the City.
In addition to annual signature events, such as the Elevator Pitch Competition (held in
an actual elevator) and specialized collaborations like All the CEO Ladies (in
partnership with the KSU Women’s Center), LaunchNET walks the entrepreneurial walk
by creating new programs to meet client demand. This year, LaunchNET is piloting the
Black Women Bosses program and has recently expanded its services to assist Kent
State departments in using entrepreneurial thinking to address challenges.
“We work hard to find new ways to serve the needs of our entrepreneurs each
semester, and we are thrilled to be able to continue to create these opportunities and
collaborations,” said Tabitha Messmore, interim assistant director of LaunchNET. “We
could not be more excited to have the ability to continue growing our services and
offering our expertise across the university landscape.”
Looking forward, LaunchNET, newly located in Kent State’s Design Innovation (DI) Hub,
will be exploring new possibilities for design challenges, hackathons and prototype
support. Additionally, LaunchNET and DI will soon launch the pilot cohort for the Marty
Erbaugh (I3) Lab, a program that includes mentorship, rapid prototyping, launch
advising and office space opportunities for Kent State entrepreneurs.
Dean of University Libraries Ken Burhanna reaffirmed the support saying, “We are glad
to have the continued generosity from Burton D. Morgan Foundation for the unique and
strong program that is LaunchNET Kent State. They continue to impress with their wide
range of activities and entrepreneurial programming for the university community.”
LaunchNET Kent State is a co-curricular, cross-campus program that serves students, alumni, staff and
faculty to promote entrepreneurial thinking, innovative mindset, creative collaboration, and venture
creation through advising, events, and connections to the greater Northeast Ohio community.
Questions or comments can be directed to LaunchNET via email at launchnet [at] kent.edu or by phone at
(330) 672-6700. For more information about LaunchNET, please visit www.kent.edu/launchnet