10th Annual Cupid’s Cup Business Competition Now Open


Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Cupid’s Cup Business Competition, presented by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank ’96 and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. In the 10th annual competition, the top student entrepreneurs from across the country and around the world can compete for $115,000 in total cash prizes.

The application deadline is Jan. 5, 2015. The final competition is set for Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at UMD’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Previous Cupid’s Cup winners, finalists and semifinalists include startups that have: introduced in-helmet sensors to help identify in-game football player concussions (Brain Sentry); produced an award-winning party game among a product line in Target and specialty gaming stores (North Star Games); and leveraged a consumer advice-clothing line hybrid into a presence both online and in Lord & Taylor, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Pacific Sunwear and more than 500 retailers worldwide (Crooked Monkey).

A panel of judges will narrow the applicant pool to six finalists in a semifinal competition round to be held at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters in March. In April, those finalists will pitch their businesses to Plank and a panel of judges in front of more than 1,000 attendees at the final competition. The day’s events also will include a business and innovation showcase highlighting UMD student and alumni startups.

Applicants will compete for a transformative prize package including:

  • Total cash prizes of $115,000, with $75,000 for the grand prize winner;
  • Coaching from a team of successful entrepreneurs; and
  • The prestigious Cupid’s Cup.

“The goal of Cupid’s Cup is to identify and reward students who have the entrepreneurial drive and conviction to take a risk and start a business while they are young,” said Plank, founder and chairman of Cupid’s Cup. “In 2012, we took the competition to the national stage, and I’m more passionate than ever about finding the best student entrepreneurs in the world. I want to help another young innovator reach the next level with crucial funding and my personal help making a business connection.”

Cupid’s Cup was inspired by a rose delivery business Plank started as a UMD student. As a member of the football team, he wasn’t permitted to have an outside job, so he turned to entrepreneurship as a way to pursue his business interests. Plank worked with the university’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship to create and lead a business competition to foster similar student entrepreneurship. The Dingman Center, part of the Robert H. Smith School of Business, provides students with opportunities to pitch their business ideas, receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and access to funding.

L-R: Dean, Alex Triantis; 2014 Grand Prize Winner, John Lewandowski; Cupid's Cup Chairman, Kevin Plank.

L-R: Dean, Alex Triantis; 2014 Grand Prize Winner, John Lewandowski; Cupid’s Cup Chairman, Kevin Plank.

“We appreciate this partnership with Kevin Plank enabling the Dingman Center to showcase creative and emerging startups from around the world,” said Alex Triantis, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The Cupid’s Cup competition illustrates our commitment to fostering innovation to drive economic growth.”

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at accredited colleges and universities, or recent alumni of those institutions under the age of 30. Applicants must be running a legal business entity that has generated at least $5,000 in revenue or demonstrated proof of traction. There is no fee to apply.

The Dingman Center will hold a webinar information session about the competition on November 19, 2014.

More information about Cupid’s Cup is available at www.cupidscup.umd.edu.

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