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Floreo Labs and Lehman College Blackstone LaunchPad Celebrate the Success of Pitch Competition, Boosting Entrepreneurship in the Bronx

Bronx, NY –June 3, 2024 – Lehman College Blackstone LaunchPad, in collaboration with Floreo Labs, is proud to announce the successful conclusion of their latest pitch competition. 


This initiative, aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and business development in the Bronx, has brought together a dynamic group of aspiring entrepreneurs, innovative ideas, and dedicated mentors. This partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s effort to ensure that coursework related to the development of an entrepreneurial mindset and skills – such as a business acumen and a creative approach to problem solving – is available to a more diverse set of students.


Empowering Future Business Leaders

The featured pitch finalists were participants in Floreo's signature business development course, the Lab Accelerator Program, or the L.A.P. 


Floreo Labs partners Naomi Arroyo and Cameron Flowers pictured with 7 Blackstone LaunchPad Program finalists, boosting entrepreneurship in the Bronx.
Floreo Labs and Blackstone LaunchPad Program Finalists | Lehman College

The L.A.P. was designed to make it easy for anyone to build tech enabled solutions to problems in their communities, regardless of age, skill level or zip code. Since its creation in 2019, Floreo has helped over 16,000 aspiring technologists, including women, gender-non-conforming and system impacted candidates, launch and expand their careers in business and computer science related fields.


After 12 weeks of learning, researching and building, finalists presented eight unique business ideas to a panel of industry experts and potential investors for a chance to win one of three award prizes. This event marks a significant milestone in Floreo’s ongoing efforts to support and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit within the Bronx community.


"Pitch Day is a day I will never forget. All of the students showed incredible conviction and knowledge of their businesses," said Naomi Arroyo, Managing Partner at Floreo Labs, who led the instruction and coaching of this year’s cohort. 


"The breadth of ideas and their demonstrated creativity and determination are truly inspiring. We are excited to continue to support students and see how their business models continue to transform into successful ventures that positively impact our community."


A Collaborative Effort

The success of this event was made possible by the collaborative efforts of hosting partners at Lehman College School of Business and the sponsorship of the Blackstone Charitable Foundations. Lehman is one of nine CUNY colleges to work with the Foundation to run the Blackstone LaunchPad, which connects students with business mentors and advisors. Participants also gain access to a speaker series and participate in virtual and in-person professional development opportunities to help get their ideas off the ground.


As Lehman's School of Business gets off the ground, collaboration with Floreo Labs is expected to catalyze economic and social impacts on campus and in the community. By providing accessible opportunities for entrepreneurship, the partnership is helping to create a more inclusive and engaged business environment, said Lawrence Fauntleroy, Director of Experiential Learning at the School of Business and director of the College's Blackstone Launchpad Initiative.


“I believe the collaboration between Lehman College and Floreo Labs is a transformative force in the Bronx. It nurtures the next generation of entrepreneurs and could drive sustainable economic development through education, innovation, and experiential learning.”

Boosting Entrepreneurship in the Bronx by supporting small business
First place winner Guadalupe Valdovinos at the Lehman College Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Day Competition

A standout outcome of this year’s collaboration was the inclusion of a diverse group of aspiring entrepreneurs. The business ideas presented at Pitch Day were not only innovative but rooted in addressing community needs.


For instance, the first-place winner, Guadalupe Valdovinos, developed Bow Inspiration, a hair accessory company aimed at expanding a small family business. Her vision also includes creating fair and equitable work opportunities for female artisans from her home country of Mexico.



Looking Ahead

Building on the success of this year’s programming, Floreo Labs and Lehman College are committed to continuing their support for local entrepreneurs. Future initiatives will include additional training programs, mentorship opportunities, and further pitch events to deepen business development in NYC.


"We believe in the potential of Bronx entrepreneurs to drive economic growth and innovation," said Cameron Flowers, CEO of Floreo Labs. "This pitch competition is just the beginning, and we look forward to supporting many more entrepreneurs in their journey to success." 


“Building on the success of the current programming, there are many ways we envision a continued collaboration,” Director Fauntleroy shared. “We intend to work together to expand mentorship opportunities, integrate emerging technologies into the program, and continue to educate students on the principles of social entrepreneurship by combining innovation and technology with a focus on solving social, environmental, and community issues.”



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ABOUT FLOREO LABS

Founded in 2019 by Cameron Flowers, Floreo Labs is an innovation lab advancing economic growth, job creation, and community development nationwide using modern technology. Through various programs and initiatives, the lab provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources, mentorship, and support they need to turn their ideas into thriving businesses. 


ABOUT LEHMAN COLLEGE 

Lehman College, an urban public institution and economic and cultural catalyst in the Bronx, is a national engine for social mobility and a vibrant center of discovery and creative work, providing a transformative educational experience while advancing equity, inclusion, and social justice. The mission of the School of Business and its Experiential Learning Department is to integrate practical hands-on business concepts with rigorous academic instruction. Through their experiential learning initiative, students gain hands-on knowledge of cutting-edge business concepts and principles. Programs aim to cultivate students with proficient foundational business tenets equipped with invaluable on-the-ground business experience.


Lehman College is committed to empowering local communities through support for entrepreneurship and innovation. By partnering with organizations like Floreo Labs, they aim to create a sustainable impact on economic development and business growth.


ABOUT BLACKSTONE LAUNCHPAD

Blackstone LaunchPad, the signature program of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, seeks to close the opportunity gap by equipping college students with entrepreneurial skills and internship opportunities to help them build lasting careers. Blackstone LaunchPad programming helps students hone these innovation skills so they can compete in the job market and realize their potential. The program offers both on-demand digital and on-campus, in-person skills-building programs – with a particular focus on campuses that might not otherwise be able to provide these kinds of resources to boost entrepreneurship.

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