Blackstone LaunchPad

The Blackstone LaunchPad network ensures entrepreneurship is accessible and relevant to every college student, regardless of major or future goals. Blackstone joins UCF to create a campus hub for innovation, where students cultivate entrepreneurial skills, receive guidance from a dedicated faculty director, and connect with like-minded peers. 

Welcome to The LaunchPad

Come visit us in the Blackstone LaunchPad located in the lobby of the Student Union on UCF’s main campus. Schedule a 1-on-1 confidential mentor meeting, join one of our industry speaker events, RSVP for innovation mixers or check out ways to compete for cash! Visit for our schedule and further details.


Skills for Career Success

The skills needed to build a successful business – creativity, problem solving, determination and clear communication – are the skills needed to build a successful career. The Blackstone LaunchPad gives students the opportunity to hone these skills so they can compete in the job market and fully realize their potential.

A Powerful Network

The LaunchPad network gives students opportunities to learn from established entrepreneurs, business leaders and Blackstone professionals. Through this, they see what entrepreneurial skills look like in a day-to-day career context and are mentored as they bring their ideas to life.

Blackstone LaunchPad Coaches

Students are able to receive dedicated guidance from our renowned mentors.

Hand drawn underline, in the UCF brand color.

In Residence Coaches

Cameron Ford

  • Creativity and Innovation Expert
  • Edu-Tech Experience
  • Entrepreneurship Champion
  • Competition Organizer

Mike Pape

  • Biotech Entrepreneur
  • Cofounder of Esperion Therapeutics
  • Entrepreneurship Professor
  • Problem Solving Expert

Cameron Marsh

  • Finance Expert
  • Business Growth Strategist
  • Market Discovery Expert
  • Business Operations Expert

Cassandra Willard

  • Sports & Entertainment Lawyer
  • Nonprofit Law Expert
  • Intellectual Property Expert
  • Girl Scouts Board Member

Jesse Wolfe

  • Shark Tank Alumni
  • Food Industry Expert
  • Marketing Expert
  • Retail Sales Expert

Justin Buzzi

  • Social Media Marketing Expert
  • Web3 & NFT
  • Franchising Expert
  • Hit $10 Million in revenue

Mike Lynch

  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship Professor
  • Serial Intrapreneur
  • Former BCG, NASCAR, ADT, VC


Elizabeth Trader

  • Computer Engineer
  • Fintech Entrepreneur
  • Sustainable Tech
  • Customer Discovery Expert

Rachel Flasterstein

  • Serial Entrepreneur
  • Founder of “The Tampa Mermaid”
  • SAAS Entrepreneur
  • Startup Weekend Winner

Community Coaches

Kristen Unico

Mentor - Available 8/28
  • Analytical Skills
  • Marketing
  • Writing
  • Strategy

Melissa Stires

Mentor - Available 9/19
  • Corporate Development
  • Stakeholder Management
  • International Relations
  • Leadership Development

Adrianna Sekula

Mentor - Available 10/2
  • Networking
  • Relationship Building
  • Public Speaking
  • Public Policy

Andrew Kim

Mentor - Available 8/29
  • Consulting
  • Networking
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Thinking

Alexandar Cusell

Mentor - Available 9/20
  • Software Development
  • Project Management
  • Team Building
  • Leadership

Phil Dumas

Mentor - Available 10/9
  • Fundraising
  • Licensing
  • Product Development


Jennifer Englert

Mentor - Available 9/5
  • Business Strategy
  • Legal
  • Negotiation


Albert Manero

Mentor - Available 9/26
  • Research
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


Patricio Cuesto

Mentor - Available 10/11
  • Corporate Development
  • Operations
  • Organizational Development
  • Leadership Development

Brooke Hill

Mentor - Available 9/18
  • Visual Communication
  • Editing
  • Fundraising
  • Film Production

Jo Newell

Mentor - Available 9/28
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Public Speaking
  • Business Development
  • Leadership

Jarrod Ethridge

Mentor - Available 10/30
  • Title Insurance
  • Negotiation
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Contractual Agreements