This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the ten student startups who are participating in the Terp Startup summer accelerator phase of our Fearless Founders program. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.
Founder and CEO/President: Lumnwi Audrey Awasom ’18, Marketing major, Technology Entrepreneurship minor
DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?
Awasom: Noble Uprising is a unique philanthropic initiative to supporting job creation for women in homeless shelters through workforce development programs and business partnerships. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that trains homeless women in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area through our 6 month intense career readiness program to gain secure employment.
DC: How did you first come up with your idea?
Awasom: I began my pursuit for serving others when I co-founded a socially responsible project my sophomore year of college called the One Heart Project. The One Heart Project, which served as a pilot for Noble Uprising, was successfully able to positively impact over 50 women experiencing homelessness in Montgomery Avenue Women’s Center. Through the success of the One Heart Project, Noble Uprising was created to ensure continued positive impact for women experiencing homelessness in the community.
DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?
Awasom: One of the major milestones Noble Uprising has established so far is providing over 800 care package items to homeless women in the Montgomery County area. We did so through our WeCare campaigns which involved individuals in our community writing cards of encouragement to women in homeless shelters. We have had two successful campaigns so far and look forward to having a greater impact through our Noble Up program occurring this fall.
DC: What drives you to keep going?
Awasom: What drives me is purpose. Throughout my life, I was provided with great opportunities to be a productive individual in my community. I was provided with an amazing family, great career opportunities and excellent debt-free education. However, there are individuals who are not provided with such opportunities. I can easily get a regular job but I truly believe that my purpose is to provide opportunities for individuals who are often overlooked and underserved in life. Knowing this purpose is what keeps me going.
DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?
Awasom: I enjoy working with like-minded students who have similar aspirations to my own. One aspect of working with student entrepreneurs that I really enjoy is the fact that we are all trying to figure out how to scale our success and overcome the obstacles that come with being in the startup stages of our businesses. Due to this, we are able to collaborate easily, bounce ideas off each other and confide in each other on challenges that others would not easily understand. I love our inclusive culture and how we are all thinking constructively of each other’s businesses.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?
- Launch 40K Empowerment Campaign to raise $40,000 in the month of July to support the women in our programs.
- Clearly articulate the metrics that effectively communicate the success of our programs.
- Cultivate four or more corporate partnerships that can employ our women after graduation.