Queensborough's Entrepreneurial Stars Get Tapped For Prestigious Summer Program

Published: June 13, 2022

Blackstone LaunchPad who partnered with Future Founders, has announced the latest cohorts of the Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship, a virtual 7-week immersive program designed to support student entrepreneurs across the network. Run in partnership with Future Founders, the 2022 Summer Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship will empower 90 student startups with entrepreneurial resources, mentorship, education, and financial assistance. Current students as well as alumni who graduated from 2015 to present, are eligible. Each student participant will receive a $5,000 stipend and mentorship.

Queensborough student Elizabeth Hanson, an art and design major who plans to graduate in fall 2022. Her winning start-up idea is “Build a Bouquet,” an innovative alternative to flowers to help young couples find meaningful ways to spend time together.

Queensborough alumni Daniel Avramov, ’22, who received an A.A.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology. His winning start-up idea is “Pocketbed,” an auto inflatable portable housing solution for people who need stable housing and security. Daniel plans to launch a business in his field of study.

Máteo Saenz, ’19, who received an A.S. in Biotechnology, currently attends CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. While a student at Queensborough,  Máteo participated in the CUNY and Capital One Community College Innovation Challenge. He developed his business hypothesis, Eagle-I, an autonomous robot designed to help emergency responders by using biotechnology sensors and artificial intelligence to find survivors and save lives. Eagle-I was one of the winning pitches presented at the fall 2017 CUNY and Capital One Community College Innovation Challenge. Mateo was also the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program and has participated in both national and international business competitions.

Makheni Jean-Pierre, ’17, who received an A.S. in Biological Sciences, was a member of the Eagle-I team. He graduated from Stony Brook University in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in molecular biology. Makheni just completed a two-year undergraduate research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and has been accepted to a doctoral program at Georgetown University. Both Mateo and Makheni served as Blackstone Launchpad Student Ambassadors for the Spring 2022 Innovation Challenge. 

"We are incredibly proud of our students,” said Dr. Christine Mooney, Professor, Business. “And we were delighted to introduce our student participants and President Christine Mangino to members of the Blackstone Foundation who visited our campus earlier this month. “

Mooney added, “One of the wonderful things about this program is that all students from any majors across the board are welcome to participate and the virtual format is particularly suited to the program as it allows for interaction with people from across the country.”

She expressed her deep appreciation to consultant Julie Collins from the Georgia Institute of Technology who provided mentorship and training to the students in the Spring 2022 Innovation Challenge that led to these additional opportunities. 

Some Background:

The QCC Blackstone Launchpad program began in September of 2021, with a three-year, $300,000.00 grant awarded to Dr. Christine Mooney, Professor, Business and Dr. Sandra Palmer, then Dean of Faculty for Academic Affairs for the provision of entrepreneurial and innovation programming for students and Queensborough alumni. In the Spring of 2022, QCC launched the Blackstone Launchpad Community College Innovation 




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