Author Archives: UMD Dingman Center

A Summer Internship Making Entrepreneurship Inclusive at SEED SPOT

The Dugal Impact Fellowship Program provides a stipend for two undergraduate students to spend their summers interning at early-stage social enterprises, thanks to a generous gift from Ish ’05 and Priya Dugal ’05. 

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by: Adam Sarsony ’20

Incubators across the world tend to focus on established startups that are past seed stage. However, a group called SEED SPOT has decided to try a different strategy: focusing on seed stage startups, mostly with minority and female founders, and helping them to build social enterprises from the ground up.

This past summer I was fortunate enough to intern at SEED SPOT through a Dingman Center fellowship. SEED SPOT is a social enterprise incubator with offices in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, providing training and resources to founders of nonprofits and for-profits with a social mission to help them grow and measure their impact. Throughout every level of engagement, SEED SPOT focuses on minority and female social entrepreneurs.

IMG_2716-1.JPGWorking at SEED SPOT was an experience like no other—I’ve thought about it as working at a startup that’s in the business of helping startups. The team is small and incredibly passionate about their work. The organization is only a few years old, having seen massive growth since first starting out and only recently adding their WeWork location in DC.

The SEED SPOT office in DC is littered with Mac chargers, marketing materials, books about social entrepreneurship, Harvard Business Review journals, and notebooks that SEED SPOT team members brought back from conferences to share. Working there was just as much an opportunity to access the SEED SPOT library as it was a job (which was perfect for nerds like myself).

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A Summer Internship Fighting Food Waste at Misfit Juicery

The Dugal Impact Fellowship Program provides a stipend for two undergraduate students to spend their summers interning at early-stage social enterprises, thanks to a generous gift from Ish ’05 and Priya Dugal ’05. 

Credit Gotham Greens 1

photo by Gotham Greens

by: Candice Daytner ’19

Team bonding on the New York Subway during rush hour, late night juice tasting at our co-packer facility, tasting fresh microgreens grown in an urban aeroponic vertical farm…these are just a few of the things I got to experience while working at Misfit Juicery this summer.

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photo by Gotham Greens

Misfit is a mission-oriented startup dedicated to fighting food waste by making delicious products from supply chain inefficiencies. This primarily comes in the form of “misfit” fruits and veggies that are often considered too misshapen, discolored, big or small to be sold in traditional grocery retail. My role at Misfit this summer as a supply chain and operations intern consisted of being the right-hand person to the head of operations. With such a small and dynamic team environment, I was able to take on a lot of responsibility and independence.

One of my primary responsibilities was managing the production and inventory Excel workbook. This included a lot of order fulfillment tasks such as entering Purchase Orders, creating Bills of Lading, checking inventory levels, and reconciling outbound signed paperwork with planned pickups. For planning production, I slowly learned more and took over more of the process throughout the summer. From forecasting demand, determining buffers, and planning produce quantities, I was able to plan a whole production run from start to finish by the end of the summer with relatively minimal oversight and adjustment from my managers.

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Steve Case is Coming to UMD for the Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series on Oct. 9

Steve Case will be speaking at the Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series on Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. in The Clarice’s Gildenhorn Recital Hall. Click here to register.

Steve CaseSteve Case is one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs, and a pioneer in making the Internet part of everyday life. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future.

As Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based investment firm he co-founded in 2005, Steve partners with visionary entrepreneurs to build significant ‘built to last’ businesses. Revolution invests in and actively helps build companies leveraging technology to disrupt existing markets. This includes both early and mid-stage growth companies through both the Revolution Growth fund, created in 2011, and the Revolution Ventures fund, launched in 2013. Revolution has backed more than 30 companies, including: sweet green,ZipcarRevolution FoodsDraftKingsUptake and Framebridge.

In 2014, Steve and Revolution launched the Rise of the Rest, a platform to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs that are starting and scaling businesses outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. Steve frequently tours the country by bus to meet with civic leaders, founders, investors and local corporate executives to champion citywide efforts to jumpstart entrepreneurship. As part of the initiative, Steve announced The Rise of the Rest Seed fund in December 2017.

Steve Case Technical.ly

Steve Case in Detroit during a Rise of the Rest Tour

Steve’s entrepreneurial career began in 1985 when he co-founded America Online (AOL). Under Steve’s leadership, AOL became the world’s largest and most valuable Internet company, driving the worldwide adoption of a medium that has transformed business and society. AOL was the first Internet company to go public and the best performing stock of the 1990s. At its peak, nearly half of Internet users in the United States used AOL. In 2000, Steve negotiated the largest merger in business history, bringing together AOL and Time Warner in a transaction that gave AOL shareholders a majority stake in the combined company. To facilitate the merger, Steve agreed to step down as CEO when the merger closed.

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Steve Case with President Obama

Steve’s passion for helping entrepreneurs remains his driving force. In 2011, he was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership— an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. Steve also was the founding co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, where he chaired the subcommittee on entrepreneurship.

Steve has been a leading voice in shaping government policy on issues related to entrepreneurship, working across the aisle to advance public policies that expand access to capital and talent. He was instrumental in passing the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, and is active in advocating on behalf of immigration reform and legislation that supports and accelerates the emergence of startup ecosystems in rising cities.

Steve is also Chairman of the Case Foundation, which he established with his wife Jean in 1997. Together the Cases have invested in hundreds of organizations, initiatives and partnerships with a focus on leveraging the Internet and entrepreneurial approaches to strengthen the social sector. In 2010, Steve and Jean joined The Giving Pledge and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.


External image sources:
Rise of the Rest: https://technical.ly/philly/2015/08/04/steve-case-philadelphia-rise-of-the-rest/
Steve Case and President Obama: https://www.americaninno.com/dc/steve-case-wants-congress-to-seize-the-moment-and-act/

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Smith Finance Major Helps Struggling Business Owners in Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America for eight weeks this summer. Learn more about MSEC here.

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by: Yuvraj Walia ’21

Living in Ecuador and interning with the Social Entrepreneur Corps has given me first-hand experience with the unique culture and rich history of the country. My internship has not only exposed me to the problems that different local businesses face, but also an entirely new perspective on how others live their lives. From participating in the indigenous festival of Inti Raymi or consulting with a local artisanal women’s organization, I have been given the rare opportunity to immerse myself into a new culture. When I am not living in Ñamarin or Pulinguí, two small villages in the mountains of Ecuador, I am staying in the small city of Cuenca. With its colonial architecture and old Incan ruins, the city is heavily influenced by Spanish culture while also staying true to its indigenous roots. Personally, I love Cuenca because of the curiosity and openness of the locals. One example of this is when my Spanish teacher went around the room and asked each of us if we believed in God. When she received answers from all sides of the religious spectrum, she proceeded to teach the lesson of that day per usual. These intimate questions are just a glimpse into the vast cultural differences between Ecuadorian and U.S. culture.

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Terp Startup Verdant Innovatives Uses Patented Technology to Create Small Scale Wind Turbines

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.

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verdant-01Verdant Innovatives

Founder & CEO: Anjik Ghosh ’18, Biology major, Business minor

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Ghosh: Verdant Innovatives uses patented technology to provide wind energy for individual homeowners in the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) metropolitan area, as well as local companies and larger organizations. In addition to the commercial market, Verdant Innovatives will partner with aid organizations to provide power to impoverished and disaster areas around the world.

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Terp Startup LzyFarmer is a Mobile App that Teaches Millennials About Gardening

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.

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LzyFarmer_Logo-01LzyFarmer

Founder: Rob Ginsberg, MBA ’18

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Ginsberg: LzyFarmer focuses on bring technology to the home garden. As the millennial generation continues to be more attracted to healthier food, this has translated into an interest and desire to garden. However, there is one problem, a large portion of them were never taught how to garden. LzyFarmer aims to bridge this knowledge gap by using a data driven approach to drive actions in the garden.

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Terp Startup Tommy WARES Makes Ethically Sourced Custom T-Shirts

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.

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Tommy WARES.pngTommy WARES

Founder & CEO: Tommy Piantone ’18, Information Systems major

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Piantone: Countless small organizations spend a lot of resources organizing custom t-shirt orders for members of their community. Organizing a bulk t-shirt order takes a lot of time, energy and money that an organization could be spending on its real missions and goals. Rather than charging an organization for custom apparel, Tommy WARES helps organizations raise money through their apparel orders. We charge zero set-up fees and sell shirts to individual members of the organization’s community. For every shirt sold, we split the proceeds with our partnering organization 50/50. Our shirts are all union made in the USA and printed on only organic fibers.

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Terp Startup Synapto Looks to Change the Game for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s

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.

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Synapto co-founders Anoop Patel and David Boegner

Synapto_Logo-01.pngSynapto

Co-Founder and Lead Machine Learning Engineer: Anoop Patel ’20, Bioengineering major, Computer Science minor
Co-Founder and Lead Systems Engineer: David Boegner ’20, Bioengineering major

Not in Terp Startup:
Co-Founder and CEO: Dhruv Patel ’20, Bioengineering major
Co-Founder and CTO: Chris Look ’20, Bioengineering, Computer Science double major
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer: Megha Guggari, ’20, Computer Science major

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Synapto: Synapto is an early stage biotech venture aiming to revolutionize the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease through portable electroencephalogram (EEG) and machine learning. This technology allows for a cheaper, faster and more quantitative method of detection in comparison to current qualitative questionnaires and costly neuroimaging techniques (PET, MRI). Detecting the disease earlier allows more time for financial and legal planning, and provides the opportunity to enter clinical trials sooner, improving the drug development landscape.

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Terp Startup Solr Tech Designs Solar-Powered Umbrellas to Charge Phones

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.

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Solr tech.pngSolr Tech

Co-founder and President: Alexei Onufrak ’20, Environmental Science & Technology major

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Onufrak: Solr Tech provides real estate businesses with a cost effective, hassle-free solution to customer retention through a solar product retrofittable to any patio umbrella. With the Solr Umbrella, we bring an outdoor power solution, while avoiding high infrastructure costs. Whether it be cafe’s, hotels, resorts, universities or amusement parks, people’s need to charge their mobile devices dictates occupancy. Solr Tech aims to provide unique power solutions outdoors.

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Terp Startup SLAY Naturals is a Natural Skincare Line for Fashionistas

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.

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Slay NaturalsSLAY Naturals

Founder and CEO: Breonna Massey ’18, Government & Politics major

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Massey: SLAY Naturals is a skincare line designed for the naturalista that doubles as a fashionista. We provide an alternative for those who are in the process of living a holistic lifestyle but are not quite ready to commit to the earthy smells and packaging. Going natural should be fun and not intimidating. With our bright colors and bold smells, SLAY Naturals ensures that you will enjoy your entire natural experience.

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