A Day of Entrepreneurship with the Dingman Center

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by: Megan McPherson

This year for 30 Days of Entrepreneurship, the Dingman Center decided we would roll a month’s worth of activity into a single day: Thursday, April 20. The result was our Day of Entrepreneurship, which featured the return of a popular Dingman Center event, Terp Marketplace, and later a rousing speech by entrepreneurship guru Jeff Hoffman.

Terp Marketplace

Terp Marketplace was an opportunity for student entrepreneurs to sell or showcase their products and gather feedback from the Smith community. From 12-2 p.m., there were 30 tables lined up in Pownall Atrium of Van Munching Hall showcasing a wide variety of student-run startups displaying products, services and apps. Many of the students who tabled at Terp Marketplace are currently participating in the Idea Shell or Hatch phases of our Fearless Founders accelerator, but there was also representation from students enrolled in the 461 Entrepreneurship courses run by Brent Goldfarb and David Kressler, and one student from the part-time MBA program. The energy of Terp Marketplace was as open and welcoming as any street fair, with students, faculty and staff stopping by to support their fellow Terps and snack on hummus, get their photo taken, buy succulents and more.

Dingman Center Speaker Series: Jeff Hoffman

Later that day, Priceline.com founding member Jeff Hoffman arrived in Van Munching Hall. At 5 p.m., the Dingman Center hosted an exclusive fireside chat with Jeff for an intimate group of Fearless Founders. There he made special connections with a few students before presenting his take on the entrepreneurial mindset to a crowd of over 100 people in Frank Auditorium at 6 p.m.

Jeff’s speech, “The Power of Entrepreneurship,” focused on his unique approach to problem-solving that led him to achieve success and acclaim across a variety of industries, from the tech world to music producing. One mental hack he promoted was to write down your biggest dream on a post-it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror. Seeing your dream written out as you start each day encourages you to be mindful of the daily actions you should take to achieve it.

Another anecdote involved helping former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield train for a match. After completing 300 reps of an exceedingly difficult exercise, Evander asked Jeff if he did 299 or 300. When Jeff couldn’t respond with absolute certainty, Evander did one more and said, “The difference between 299 and 300 is the difference between every amateur boxer and the heavyweight champion of the world.” The takeaway: strive for excellence through focus, hard work and drive and success will follow.

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