This week marks one month into the Dingman Center’s 2022 Terp Startup Accelerator program…and it could not be going better!
So far our cohort has had a blast hearing from guest speakers, participating in workshops and roundtable discussions, and even taking field trips to the Johns Hopkins University Fast Forward U program and Towson University’s accelerator at Startups!
Our cohort has also been participating in fun innovation challenges throughout the summer like paper airplane building competitions and playing the card game “A Balancing Act”, created by cohort members and co-founders of Sparza, Ryan Myer ’22, and Kyle Sznoluch.
“TSA has been an amazing experience! The entire community has been extremely supportive and nurturing in helping us with our ventures. The cohort has been really great as well, and it has been extremely educational and beneficial to learn from fellow members. The structured environment and advising have helped us move forward and think about aspects of our venture we hadn’t thought about before. We have immensely expanded our network and have made connections not only at UMCP but also at JHU, Towson, alumni and practicing professionals,” said Ina Kovacheva, founder of Arch Dash.
The program, held in the new Idea Factory’s Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Loft on campus, has given these student entrepreneurs the opportunity to advance their own ventures full-time while spontaneously collaborating with one another. Working in this type of environment is relatively new for many students, but participants like Emily Garcia, founder of Em G Art Design Studio, have grown to appreciate the benefits.
“I’ve worked in art studios which are similar in a way. The similarities come from the fact that the space gathers like-minded people. People who are working in a space that inspires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. One’s environment can influence their work and mindset. It also creates a sense of community,” said Garcia.
Of the 11 ventures accepted into TSA, each is unique–and not only in its products and services. While some students have fully developed ventures that already generate revenue, others simply have an idea and the passion to make it happen. No matter the stage of the startup, each company is given up to $5,000 in financial support and full physical support from members of the Dingman Team, Holly DeArmond, Tsega Belachew, Lottie Byram, and Alex Onufrak.
“The access to mentors, professionals, and their networks has been really helpful. Even more than the specific workshops, simply the ability to connect with and tap into mentor networks has been a huge value add,” said Josh Doying founder of Bedtime Sports.
Despite some ventures being more advanced in their process than others, by the end of the program, all companies will meet critical outcomes such as making data-driven decisions using metrics that matter, finding product/market fit, and acquiring initial customers.
Even though the 2022 program is nearly halfway complete, students are still working hard and are excited to take the next steps in furthering their venture.
“I am very much looking forward to starting a pilot program with the University and learning more about how they can benefit from our technology! A bit nervous about demo day and really dreading the thought of TSA coming to an end,” said Kovacheva.