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Jan Woodcock Named Executive Director of UAlbany's Blackstone LaunchPad

Executive Director Jan Woodcock, left, with a student at the inauguration of UAlbany's Blackstone LaunchPad program. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus).

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 24, 2016) -- Jan Timothy Woodcock has been named executive director of the University at Albany's new Blackstone LaunchPad, a multidisciplinary experiential learning program that supports student innovation and entrepreneurship by providing tools for students to turn ideas into viable businesses.

As executive director, Woodcock is tasked with building UAlbany's Blackstone LaunchPad program, engaging users, stakeholders, and students through outreach and business venture coaching. He will develop and expand UAlbany's reach in the international Blackstone LaunchPad network, connect with and utilize entrepreneur networks in the external community, and establish support sources for students.

"We are thrilled to have Jan Woodcock on board as Blackstone LaunchPad's executive director," said Sanjay Goel, principal investigator for LaunchPad and associate professor of information technology management. "With his depth of experience and commitment to inspiration and creativity in the marketplace, he will be a great mentor to student entrepreneurs and an invaluable link to external business programs, resources, and opportunities."

Woodcock, a two-time University at Albany alum (BS '86, MBA '91), most recently served as the global lead at the multinational business solutions corporation Cognizant, where he managed global media accounts. He was a partner in Cambridge, LLC, a media and telecoms solutions company. He has also served as senior partner with Deloitte Consulting, and as consulting partner with Wipro, the global technology services company.

The Blackstone LaunchPad platform will afford student entrepreneurs with individualized coaching and seminars and training sessions related to building a business. Students will write business plans, complete financial analyses, and design marketing campaigns. In addition, the LaunchPad platform will match students with venture or angel funding by creating forums for investors to entertain student entrepreneur pitches. Students will also team up with external mentors and business incubators to launch commercial ventures.

Funding for the program is made through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, which seeks to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and support the development of ecosystems in the academic environment for aspiring entrepreneurs.

In October 2015, the Charitable Foundation expanded its Blackstone LaunchPad initiative across the state of New York, announcing a three-year, $4.5 million partnership grant with the University at Albany, Cornell University, New York University, Syracuse University, and the University at Buffalo.

The Blackstone LaunchPad platform will connect UAlbany's 17,300 students to other campuses, the business community, and local entrepreneurs throughout the state. With a physical presence on each university campus and access to the Blackstone LaunchPad Global Network Technology Platform, the program has the potential to generate some 4,000 new ventures and 6,000 jobs across New York over the next five years. Each regional program established through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is linked, drawing ideas and best practices from across 21 campuses, and giving student entrepreneurs in New York access to an international community of more than 500,000 of their peers and expert advisers.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.