The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is wrapping up a semester of live, virtual and hybrid programming. We are pleased to report that our students are excited to engage with us in person while still having some virtual options. As finals week comes to an end and holiday break begins, we want to take the time to reflect on the Dingman Center’s successful programs, events and more. Join us in looking at our Fall 2021 semester recap!
Donations & Support
$1M Fishlinger Family Foundation gift to support the Dingman Center
Thanks to a generous donation from the Fishlinger Family Foundation, the Dingman Center has received a $1M gift. This increased support helps bolster the center’s operations and programs so that we can help more University of Maryland students launch their startups.
Entrepreneurship Ranking: Top 10 Again!
For the seventh year in a row, the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine ranked the University of Maryland in the top 10 for entrepreneurship. UMD is ranked No. 10 for undergraduate entrepreneurship education across all institutions and No. 4 among public universities. And UMD came in at No. 2 in the Northeast in The Princeton Review’s regional ranking. Read more about the rankings here.
Signature Events & Programs
This semester, we used a hybrid model to deliver Dingman Fridays where the first Friday of each month was held in person at Van Munching Hall and following Fridays were held virtually over Zoom. Each week the Dingman Center hosted a series of experienced entrepreneurs as well as a legal advisor who gave students, alumni, staff and faculty practical and actionable feedback on business ideas. Throughout the semester we had a total of 159 students and 32 different advisors engage in these sessions. If you’re interested in participating, sign up for the Dingman Fridays newsletter to be notified when we bring back Dingman Fridays in the Spring.
Nov. 2 – Ladies First Speaker Event
Ladies First is the Dingman Center’s initiative to increase the number of women and non-binary individuals involved in entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. This semester, we invited Arion Long, Founder and CEO of Femly, to discuss her business journey and the struggles she faces as a female entrepreneur of color. Long inspired the crowd with her story and success and gave each attendee Femly menstruation products to take home.
The Shatter Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the Shatter Fun that aims to benefit underserved female entrepreneurs, closed out the event by naming three University of Maryland founded businesses as 2021 grant recipients. The ventures accepted were Aurora (Co-Founders: Sydney Parker ’18, Imani Rickerby ’17, and Jasmine Snead ’18, MBA/MPP 2021), Blimp Logistics (Co-Founders: Spencer Yaculak ’23, Camilo Melnyk ‘21), and Dorothy’s Place (Co-Founders: Mika Panday ’21, Colleen Baldwin, and Olivia Bruno). Each business will receive mentoring, entrepreneurial education and a $5,000 grant.
Nov. 10 – Terp Marketplace
This year, the Dingman Center celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week with Terp Marketplace. On November 10, UMD student-led businesses got to test the market by setting up tables in Van Munching Hall and selling their products and services. Vendors sold an array of items like sustainable cleaning supplies, college game day apparel, organic skincare, delicious cookies and more. Read more about the ventures that attended Terp Marketplace here.
Not only will applying for the Pitch Dingman Competition–among other Dingman Center programs–benefit your business, but it will provide you with a community of supportive like-minded individuals. Once a month, both current and alumni members of Terp Startup, Pitch Dingman Finalists and Startup Shell participate in Founders Forum. This forum is an opportunity for participants to hone entrepreneurial skills, learn from peers, and catch up with one another. During these meetings, we dive into a new topic related to running a businesses in a roundtable-style, while also making time to socialize.
Terp Startup Fellows
Building on Terp Startup Accelerator, the Dingman Center’s eight-week summer program, Terp Startup Fellows seeks to further aid the most promising student and young alumni startups. This program is made possible with funding and mentoring provided by Dingman Center Board of Advisors Chairperson Bill Boyle ’81. This 2021-22 academic year, the Dingman Center has named the following five Terp Startup Fellows to receive up to $20,000 in non-dilutive funding, coaching and co-working space to advance their practices:
- Athenus Financial Group – Cameron Williams ’21 and Damian Shaw ’24
- Fancy & Spicy – Brin Xu, PhD ’22
- Vitalize – Sanketh Andhavarapu ’23 and Veeraj Shah ’21
- Door Robotics – Joshua Ermias
- Aurora – Sydney Parker ’18, Imani Rickerby ’17, and Jasmine Snead ’18, MBA/MPP 2021
E-fund winners announced
Every year, the Dingman Center provides ad-hoc seed funding for University of Maryland startups, called the E-Fund. These non-dilutive grants range from $250-$1000 and go towards specific business needs like equipment purchases, website hosting, rapid prototyping and more. This semester the Dingman Center awarded $7,192 total in E-fund grants to the following nine companies:
- Public Health Beyond Borders
- Odin Electric
- Lio – LinkedinConsulting.com
- Across The Board
- Omega 3 LLC
- WISE Cities, LLC
The Dingman Center is officially on TikTok
This semester the Dingman Center has taken on a new form of social media, TikTok. We have posted three videos advertising Ladies First, Terp Marketplace and Dingman Fridays–with more soon to come in the Spring semester. So far, our videos have almost 1200 views combined. Be sure to check out our account and give us a follow to get exclusive Dingman Center content.
Pitch Dingman Competition Applications Open Soon!
Although the semester is coming to a close, we are excitedly looking ahead to our annual Pitch Dingman Competition. This Shark Tank-style pitch competition provides the University of Maryland’s most talented student entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for seed funding and exclusive access to venture development resources. This year, applications for all three tracks open on January 18. Students will compete for one of our non-dilutive cash prizes totaling more than $75,000.
Want to get a jump start on completing your application? Watch our Pitch Dingman Competition 2022 Application Prep Video Series featuring past winners sharing tips to help you succeed.
We wish the Dingman Center community a cheerful holiday season and a happy New Year. We look forward to all the entrepreneurial growth that 2022 will bring our fearless founders.
The Dingman Center Team