Blackstone Charitable Foundation Launches Entrepreneur Network in North Carolina

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and a consortium of four universities in North Carolina's Research Triangle area have announced the launch of a five-year initiative designed to help the Raleigh-Durham region become an incubator for high-growth companies with the greatest potential to create new jobs.

A $3.63 million grant from the foundation will support the formation of an entrepreneurial network that will work to identify thirty marketable innovations a year coming out of area universities and regional startups; it is anticipated that the effort will create more than 17,000 jobs, attract more than $800 million in capital to the region, and generate more than $4 billion in revenue over the next decade. Initial partners include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and North Carolina State University. The Durham-based Council for Entrepreneurial Development also will be part of the effort.

The grant is part of a $50 million initiative launched by the foundation in the wake of the Great Recession to foster entrepreneurship in regions with high unemployment. Through the initiative, the foundation looks for innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can help rebuild and rejuvenate the nation's economy.

"The Blackstone Charitable Foundation views support for entrepreneurship as a critically important element in meaningfully building jobs and improving the United States' growth and competitiveness," said Blackstone Group CEO and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman. "We are pleased to join this partnership to develop what will be a dynamic regional network capable of applying the operational expertise and coordinated, laser-like focus on bringing ideas to market."