Blackstone launchpad press conference
Two UTPB students were selected as winners, each were awarded $1,000

The Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition was a virtual business plan competition powered by Startup Tree. Designed specifically for students with no prior experience with entrepreneurship, the Ideas Competition was created so that any student no matter their major or career plans could practice the important skills of distilling and presenting a latent idea. All undergraduate and graduate students with an idea, no matter how small, or a prototype, no matter how rough, were invited to apply.


“We were all impressed by the breadth and depth of ideas generated by students at UTPB and across the LaunchPad network,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “It’s exciting to see so many students think creatively, present succinctly, and take the first step towards bringing their ideas out into the world.”


Of the applicants from UTPB, two finalists were selected as winners, each representing a different business track. Each winner was awarded $1,000.


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Erica Loustaunau, Nursing Major Soraye Lara, Business Management Major


The winner from the Health & Life Sciences track was: Erica Loustaunau, Nursing Major, graduating Fall 2023, for her Sunrise Plex idea - an apartment complex for health care night shift workers.


The winner from the Consumer Products & services track was: Soraye Lara, Business Management Major, graduating Summer 2022, for Unlimited Jewelry - a jewelry company that focuses on employing and helping survivors of human trafficking.


In addition to winning $1,000, both students have the opportunity to go on to compete against the winners from 45 other schools in the Blackstone LaunchPad network. These finalists will receive judging, feedback, mentorship, and the chance to win an additional $10,000 in cash plus in kind prizes.


We wish them the best of luck in the national round and their future endeavors!  If you are interested in opportunities to explore entrepreneurship, UTPB Blackstone LaunchPad will be hosting an Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Beginners for Spring 2022 on January 25, 26, and 27 from 4:00-5:30 at the LL 001.