March 07, 2012 — Washington, D.C. — The White House on March 7 honored Susan Amat, co-founder and executive director of the University of Miami’s The Launch Pad, as one of 11 “Champions of Change” for outstanding leadership in entrepreneurial mentoring, counseling, and training. The White House called Amat and the other honorees exceptional leaders who support small business owners by helping them accelerate their path to growth.
”Entrepreneurial mentors help American business owners fulfill their dreams every day,” said Marie Johns, U.S. small business administration deputy administrator. “Mentors volunteer their time to provide the counseling and expertise that small business owners need to succeed and create jobs. In turn, entrepreneurs and small businesses support their local economy and provide goods and services to their neighbors. These mentors are true Champions of Change, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to celebrate their success.”
As executive director of The Launch Pad, which is based in UM’s Toppel Career Center, Amat leads an initiative that recruits entrepreneurs across the campus, offering them access to resources and a network to support applied experiential educational opportunities. Launch Pad entrepreneurs start real businesses, contributing to local economic development efforts and the community as a whole. In its first three years, more than 2,000 students and young alumni have become Launch Pad members and over 900 concepts have received mentoring, totaling upwards of 30,000 hours of mentoring and guidance. The model is being replicated nationally through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
Amat is also a management and marketing lecturer at the School of Business Administration.
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
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