On Tuesday afternoons, the Smith School’s executive board room is taken over by the second cohort of the Dingman Center’s Ladies First Founders program, a group of nine young women united by their experiences as female entrepreneurs. At the head of the room’s imposing conference table sits adjunct professor Sara Herald, MBA ’11, the Dingman Center’s Associate Director for Social Entrepreneurship and founder of the Ladies First initiative to get more women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.
This year, the Ladies First Founders were paired with expert female mentors to help guide their entrepreneurial journeys. The theme of this year’s Ladies First initiative is centered around role models, and these successful women provide an inspiring template for the cohort to follow. Over the course of the semester, we’ll be catching up with these student founders to see how their venture ideas have progressed under the guidance of professor Sara Herald and their mentors.
Read on to learn more about the diverse group of female founders and businesses that make up the Spring 2019 Ladies First Founders cohort:
Sadia Alao ’20 (Marketing & Theater) – Beauty After Dark
Mentor: Shelly Bell, Founder of Black Girl Ventures
A delivery platform where users order beauty goods with personal shoppers. Once expanded and grounded in the market, we plan to stock products and deliver before and after beauty supply stores open and close.
Barathi Aravindan ’22 (Finance)– Azelle
Mentor: Kelly O’Malley, Regional Director at The Vinetta Project
Our mission is to support the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay in a fashionable manner and empower women in the field of business by hiring young women in the community. We hope the charms on our bracelets serve as a constant reminder to support the Chesapeake Bay in its longevity.
Leah Barnes ’21 (Community Health) – Fulfilled
Mentor: Tonia Wellons, Founder, Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund
The purpose of this venture is to create a non- profit that helps students aging out of the foster care system. Statistics show that a low rate of children that age out of the system attend college. This organization will first aim to address those who do matriculate to college by providing them with essential items in the form of a “trunk” or suitcase. We would also pair students with viable resources to ensure graduation after two to four years.
I’Shea Boyd ’20 (Computer Engineering) – Baltimore Leading Baltimore
Mentor: Erin Janklow, Founder and CEO of Entrada: Employer Sponsored Learning
We contribute to the advancement of our youth by fostering the fearless pursuit of post-secondary education through empowerment and inspiration.
Sabahat Fatima ’21 (Electrical Engineering) – Tailor app (name TBD)
Mentor: Carolyn Yarina, CEO and Co-Founder at Sisu Global Health
This platform will help increase the customer base of tailors, especially ones without a physical shop and changing work hours. Customers are benefited by access to wider range of customization choices.
Dana Hashem ’20 (Neuroscience) – Care for a Terp
Mentor: Deborah Hemingway, PhD ’18, Founder and CEO at Leon Scientific
This is a care package system for Terps by Terps. It’s an on-campus care package delivery system that offers more than regular care package items. The Care For A Terp care package allows the customer to order their favorite snacks (including drinks), but also to choose from a variety of items such as fuzzy socks, eye masks or scented candles.
Nazea Khan ’20 (American Studies & International Relations) – Clothing app (name TBD)
Mentor: LaKisha Greenwade, MBA ’11, Founder of Glam Tech
This revolutionary app is about allowing consumers to try on their clothing items without having to go through the hassle of the fitting room. All they need to do is insert their measurements into the app, scan the barcode, and the app will allow the consumer to know if the clothing item is too tight, too big, just right, etc.
Lara Sharma ’22 (Computer Science)– Ele’ve
Mentor: Xina Eiland, President and CEO at X+PR
If you’re a model or a fashion photographer or someone just trying to launch a product, it can be difficult to form creative contracts and grow your brand. Ele’ve creates dream fashion editorials at the tap of your finger by allowing you to choose your fashion photographer, art director, model, stylist and makeup artist from a network.
Saba Tshibaka ’20 (Economics)– Rendered Inc.
Mentor: Ali von Paris ’12, Founder and CEO of Route One Apparel
Rendered is a clothing vending service. The founders visit different consignment shops and thrift stores to find rare items, then do market research to verify the clothes are of value. They subsequently wash/alter the clothes, take pictures and post them online to our following (@renderedinc on IG), ebay, and depop.