University of Miami's Launch Pad working to help people make, not take, jobs
By Scott E. Pacheco
The Launch Pad wants University of Miami students and alum to make, not take, a job.
The career guidance component of the Toppel Career Center at UM provides resources to those with ideas, energy and an entrepreneurial spirit. Launch Pad began in August and has the potential to be "something that almost becomes an economic development arm of Miami-Dade County," said Susan Amat, executive director.
"Companies don't want somebody who is going to take orders — the concept of entrepreneurship is a very, very important one… It really puts the power back in the hands of the individual.
"It's so exciting and so empowering."
Launch Pad allows members to create a Web profile and search the more than 300 members that have signed on since the beginning of the semester. Members can also take advantage of the group's resources, which include lawyers, accountants or even somebody to lend an ear and listen to ideas.
This week, Launch Pad is hosting and participating in Global Entrepreneurship Week, which wraps up Friday.
The week consists of a series of networking events and lectures, of which the following are still to come:
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., today (11/20), Toppel Library, "Inventing Our Future: Entrepreneurship and the Florida Economy"; Manny Mencia of Enterprise Florida discusses the environment and economy of Florida as it relates to entrepreneurship.
5-6:30 p.m., today (11/20), room 2055, School of Communication, "So You Wanna Be in Pictures?"; Breaking into the entertainment industry from multiple perspectives featuring Dean Sam Grogg, Patrick DeBokay, former director of the Miami Film Festival, and agent Betsy Mateu.
10:30-11:30 a.m. Friday, Toppel Library, "From Idea to Enterprise"; Presented by the College of Engineering, John Pittaluga and guests will discuss the process of developing and commercializing an invention.
Sean Rue Sylvester, "le boss" of streetwear clothing company Voler La Rue and a UM alum, said Launch Pad has provided him access to professionals and networking that have been vital to the continuation of his company.
Mr. Sylvester, a 2004 UM graduate, started selling T-shirts out of his car but has had his products in eight stores and some trade shows. With the help of Launch Pad, he hopes to secure funding for his brand from an investor by January. "It's provided great motivation, it's provided a great new network of people and it's provided new energy."
Details: www.thelaunchpad.org or (305) 284-2789.