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Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana providing invaluable help for Chilton Skis

August 28, 2016View for printing

At first, George Gaines thought he'd sell the backcountry skis made with local wood for some $700.

Then, the Ph.D. student at the University of Montana took his business idea for Chilton Skis to a competition at UM.

He and his partner not only tied for first place in the elevator pitch category in a statewide competition - earning $1,750 - they won third place and $5,000 for their business idea.

The judges also gave him some advice. Gaines has a background in building "museum quality furniture" and he was using that expertise to create skis. The experts believed people would appreciate the fine work and be willing to pay for it.

"You need to be charging three times more for the pair than you're charging," he said the judges told him.


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Blackstone LaunchPad at UM

The Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana (BLP-UM) is a co-curricular, experiential, campus program designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, ideation and venture creation support. Developed as part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative, the program is currently available to over 350,000 students on 15 campuses in six regions across the country. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of Blackstone and its founders, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing the firm's resources and intellectual capital to support entrepreneurship nationwide and globally.
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