Category Archives: Ladies First

Terp Toolkit: Finding the Right Entrepreneurship Course for You

By Madison Mazer

As Spring 2022 course registration begins, keep in mind the array of entrepreneurship classes that the Dingman Center offers. Starting this week, students can sign up to take any of our three classes next semester including Fearless Founders: New Venture Practicum (BMGT 468R), Ladies First Founders (BMGT 369D), or Fearless Founders: Social Entrepreneurship Laboratory (BMGT 468U).

The best part, you don’t have to be a business major to take advantage of these unique classes. Programs and courses provided by the Dingman Center are open to all majors and all interested undergraduate students are encouraged to register or apply. 

Course overview:

BMGT 468R – Fearless Founders: New Venture Practicum

This three-credit course is for undergraduate students committed to an idea after validation. Students experiment with business models, revenue streams, and go-to-market strategies. By the end of this course, some startups are securing their first customers and generating revenue, while others are working on a beta or pilot. In the final class, students pitch for seed funding to move their business forward. The course is taught by Oliver Schlake, clinical professor, management and organization.

If you are interested in registering for the Spring 2022 class, please fill out our application.

BMGT 369D Ladies First Founders

Ladies First Founders is the Dingman Center’s one-credit spring semester course for female and non-binary students interested in entrepreneurship. Taught by Sara Herald, champion of our Ladies First Initiative, the course helps students build soft skills for overcoming gender biases in entrepreneurship. Students do not need to have launched a venture, as the focus of the course is on demystifying entrepreneurship. The syllabus includes a blend of skill-building workshops and networking events. Topics include the how to’s of networking and mentorship, finding balance as a founder/student/human, overcoming imposter syndrome, startup pitching and body language, funding and how to get it, and more.

BMGT 468U – Fearless Founders: Social Entrepreneurship Laboratory

Taught by Dingman Center Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence Drew Bewick, the Social Entrepreneurship Laboratory is an active learning environment for students to test their hypotheses around the creation of social ventures and develop a deep understanding of how the field of social entrepreneurship works. Teams will iteratively test their ideas for solving social problems through experimentation, document results, incorporate feedback from key stakeholders, develop a minimum viable product, and present their outcomes. Come to this class interested in changing the world and leave with a social entrepreneur’s mindset and valuable experience using pioneering startup methodologies.

Why entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship courses can service students beyond the classroom, teaching them important skills like innovation, collaboration, and complex problem-solving. Additionally, these courses can be useful to all students, not just those interested in pursuing a career in business. 

Ladies First Founders (BMGT369D) instructor, Sara Herald, agrees that these classes are the perfect oppurtunity to get valuable experience, which will apply to any field of study. 

“Learning how to think like an entrepreneur is beneficial for everyone, no matter what profession you go into. The entrepreneurial mindset involves the ability to maximize scarce resources while navigating uncertain environments; learning how to do that will make you incredibly valuable whether as a founder or leader in another company,” said Herald.  

Some of these courses, like Fearless Founders: Social Entrepreneurship Laboratory (BMGT468U), can even help you make a positive impact on your community. 

“Successfully employing market-based strategies to solve critical social and environmental concerns in ways that are both technologically viable and economically sustainable are in demand in the world today,” said BMGT468U Professor Drew Bewick. 

If you want “hands-on, active environment that fuses agile management and lean start-up practices like no other class in the region,” then according to Bewick, this is the class for you.  

Not only are these courses a great way to support your future, but they are also a way to receive day-to-day support. For example, Herald thinks of Ladies First Founders as more than just a class. 

“Ladies First Founders is a community of female entrepreneurs. It’s a place for women and non-binary Terps who want to start their own ventures to feel like they belong in entrepreneurship and support each other. We learn both the hard and soft skills of starting a company, but ultimately the most valuable thing students leave the course with is a sense of confidence and belief in themselves as future founders,” said Herald. 

Entrepreneurship on campus:

As an undergraduate student, now is the perfect time to start learning about entrepreneurship, especially if you’re interested in starting your own business someday. 

“When you’re a student, it’s a great time to get hands-on experience launching a venture. There are so many resources available at UMD, including the Dingman Center. It’s a safe place. Mentors are available to help you learn how to avoid common pitfalls. You’ll meet interesting students. You’ve heard how practice makes perfect? It’s no different when it comes to launching ventures to make an impact,” said Bewick. 

In addition to the Dingman Center, Herald advises taking advantage of on campus resources like the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Do Good Institute, UM Ventures, and MTech. There are extensive opportunities to further your venture and sharpen your entrepreneurial skills at UMD, and these courses are a great place to start. 

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Spotlight on Kanchan Singh: CEO and Founder of Crumbs & Whiskers

By Lahari Tammera ’23

Lahari Tammera ’23, Ladies First Founders Spring ’21

A couple of years ago, I was joking around with my sister about how it’d be cool to own my own cafe and how we could create a fun menu and start a business from the ground up. I wanted it to be an establishment with South Asian fusion menu items with the look and aesthetic of a French cafe. I didn’t realize it then, but that idea would continue to stick with me for the years to come. As time passed, I began to realize exactly how much I wanted that random idea to actually come to life and become a reality.

But then came the doubt. I wasn’t sure if it was a career path that I could see for myself and I wasn’t sure if I would end up being able to enact the type of social change I wanted to see through my cafe. I found myself doing research here and there, trying to make my idea into something with a solid foundation. But the thought that I could fail and that it wouldn’t end up being as amazing as I wanted it to kept nagging at me.

Through my research, I stumbled upon a UMD alumna that was doing some amazing work through her own cafe. I was shocked to see that there was someone who had graduated from the same exact university that I was attending, who chose to go into a similar path. Her name is Kanchan Singh and she is the CEO and founder of Crumbs & Whiskers.

Her idea is a very innovative one and her cat cafe was one of the first few in the entire United States. It was a concept that wasn’t seen as common here but is very popular in other countries. As said on the Crumbs & Whiskers website, they partner with rescues that save homeless cats at risk of euthanasia and house them in their different cafe locations. They let people come in and play with these cats and keep them in their cafes until they’re adopted! All their menu items aren’t made in-house.

I was so surprised and elated to see a South Asian woman from UMD create a cafe that works to help in a social cause. It made me believe that I too could maybe create something great that would be helpful to people in my community.

Kanchan’s business flourished from having one central location in Washington DC, to having another storefront in Los Angeles. The importance and impact that social entrepreneurship can create are seen here in a real-life example. According to their website, 1612 cats have been adopted, 3311 cats have been saved from euthanasia, and $392000 has been donated to charity through all the hard work that was done at Crumbs & Whiskers.

If you want to learn more about Kanchan and her journey, you can check out the Crumbs & Whiskers website (they have merch!) or you can listen to her podcast episode on the Dingman Center’s Bootstrapped show!

Entrepreneur of the Century: Whitney Wolfe Herd

By Anna Kaplan ’21

Anna Kaplan ’21, Ladies First Founders Spring ’21

Whitney Wolfe Herd has not just become a symbol for female entrepreneurs, but for
females around the world. Wolfe Herd, a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient with a net worth of over $575 million, first jumped into the entrepreneur spotlight while in college with The Help Us Get Cleaned Up Project.

After graduating from Southern Methodist University, Wolfe Herd spent time volunteering in Asia, and then went to work at an incubator in Los Angeles. While working at an incubator, Wolfe Herd spent her evenings and weekends working with a group seeking to build a
dating app
, this app idea would later become Tinder. However, while Wolfe Herd was pivotal to Tinder’s early growth, she left on bad terms after 2 years. After leaving Tinder, she sued the company for “alleged sexual harassment and discrimination.

Following her departure from Tinder, Wolfe Herd did not allow her career to get derailed, instead she let her experiences at Tinder empower her. In 2014 Wolfe Herd started Bumble, a dating app that gives the power to women as they have to message the guy first. As described on Bumble’s site, Wolfe Herd was inspired to start Bumble because, “so many of the smart, wonderful women in my life were still waiting around for men to ask them out, to take their numbers, or to start up a conversation on a dating app.”

This differs from the majority of other dating apps, by requiring the female to message first. However, the female first angle is not the only feature that sets Bumble apart. Bumble has redefined the swiping game by creating Bumble BFF, to foster friendships, and Bumble BIZZ to foster networking. It is not just the multitude of offerings and features that sets Bumble apart, but the attitude that Wolfe Herd leads with. Her leadership most recently led to Bumble instituting a zero tolerance policy on body shaming.

The rapid success of Bumble is sure to continue into the future, after recently filing for IPO. With the current IPO filing, Wolfe Herd is set to “become one of the youngest female CEOs in tech to take her company public.

Wolfe Herd, a mom, wife, and entrepreneur, has not only paved the way for other female entrepreneurs, but she also serves as a consistent inspiration for women around the world. In a society wrought with sexism and patriarchal ideology, Wolfe Herd has given back some of that power to women. Her constant mission to inspire and empower women is a powerful message to women that they can overcome challenges and sexism to achieve success.

ANNOUNCING THE LADIES FIRST FOUNDERS SPRING 2021 COHORT

Ladies First Founders is the Dingman Center’s one-credit Spring semester course for female and non-binary entrepreneurs working on businesses at the University of Maryland. Taught by Sara Herald, champion of our Ladies First Initiative, the course helps students build soft-skills for overcoming gender biases in entrepreneurship. The cohort learns about entrepreneurship, grows their business ideas, and supports each other’s entrepreneurial journeys. The syllabus includes a blend of skill-building workshops and networking events. Topics include the how to’s of networking and mentorship, finding balance as a founder/student/human, overcoming imposter syndrome, startup pitching and body language, funding and how to get it, and more.

Read on to learn more about this cohort’s exciting student founders and their businesses!

Cloud Closet – Vera Andreeva ’22
The Cloud Closet is designed to significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to get dressed. It simultaneously increases the number of outfits through recommendations while keeping your closet the same size. Based on your style, it will recommend items that will keep you feeling stylish and on-trend.

Cosmicals Cards – Dani Feng ’23
Cosmicals Cardsis a line of humorous cartoon space-themed greetings cards.

Degree – Lahari Tammera ’23
Degree will be an Indian and French fusion cafe with traditional Indian recipes reimagined as different concepts. Tammera plans for the cafe to be a social enterprise with some of the profits either being donated to different causes or using the profits for community building in the local area surrounding the cafe.

F3S Professional Bridge – Ed-love Lesley Aidoo ’21
F3S Professional Bridge is a social venture that provides visa and international college students with professional development such as externships, internships, part-time and full-time positions.

Heart2Starr – Ileana Y. Lozano ’22
Since 2013, writer and poet Ileana Lozano has shared her thoughts, poetry, and artwork with her community under the social media handle @Heart2Starr.

Heed – Anna Kaplan ’21
Heed is a platform that provides self-care ideas and inspiration for women in their 20’s.

Hi Monkey Co. – Yasmin Molkara ’22
Hi Monkey Co. is devoted to helping others hone their unique style and promoting sustainable shopping through our favorite handpicked second-hand pieces.

Lace Bar – Maliha Bukhari ‘22

Pop Shop – Ananya Ramkumar ’21
Pop shop aims to connect college students with restaurants and retailers through pop-up shop experiences. Our mission is to allow students to dine and shop from the convenience of their campus by converting unused classrooms and trailers into restaurants and stores.

Feature Friday! Gstyles

Goodness Ihekweme ’21 is all smiles modeling an outfit from the Gstyles collection.

DC: What’s your name, major, minor, and graduation year?

Ihekweme: My name is Goodness Ihekweme and I am majoring in Marketing and minoring in technology entrepreneurship. I graduate May 2021. 

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?

Ihekweme: Gstyles is a Women and Men fashion label that builds a gap within one’s self that feels lost. Gstyles creates one of a kind look that allows an individual to feel confident and unique. Gstyles is a place where everyone belongs even when you don’t feel like you do. 

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?

Ihekweme: Well it all started with my friend Mia. Mia always had a hard time finding clothes when we were little. Mia wasn’t the average woman size. She was a bit thicker in some areas and it was very hard for her to find clothes that were still stylish and unique in her size. I didn’t understand why it seemed like that for most brands and I didn’t like how it made my friend feel. I felt her pain and how much she didn’t feel included. At that moment, I wanted to create clothes for those who may feel excluded. Gstyles was put in place to build a person’s confidence in any shape, size, and form because they do belong. 

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?

Ihekweme: My parents. They were hardworking. They taught me that anything you want in this life, you can achieve by continuously working hard and never giving up. They always told me daily that “you can do anything you put your mind to” and this is what stuck with me everyday. So when it comes to my brand, giving up was never an option and persistence was the key.

DC: In the new virtual world, how has your focus or ideas changed?

Ihekweme: I started to now see the importance of comfy clothes. At first, when I started designing, I was only thinking of clothes that are meant to be worn outside for events or occasions. When the pandemic started, not a lot of people were going out anymore. That is when I noticed that people also shop for more relaxed and stay at home clothing. That is what inspired a bit  of my recent collection. I fell more in love with comfy apparel. 

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?

Ihekweme: I recently dropped my biggest  collection ever from my brand. This collection is called Genesis and you should all go check it out. It took about 7 ½  months in preparation which included designing the pieces, looking for fabric, curating a photoshoot, putting it on the site and creating my campaign. That was one of my biggest accomplishments in 2020 for my brand.  In addition, I was also blessed to have interns who willingly want to help the brand grow. In 2021 I finally have my dream team all thanks to God. 

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Ihekweme: The advice that I would give to any aspiring entrepreneurs would be the same advice my parents gave to me. They told me that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Don’t give up, keep going! Failure is not a bad thing and if you fail one time, try again. When you fail you only get better because now you know what not to do and now you can try something else. Lastly, trust in yourself, always go back to why you started your brand and think about the end goal to stay motivated. You got it! I am rooting for you all. 

For more information about Goodness Ihekwemes company, Gstyles, please visit the website here.

Suss Up Your Wardrobe with Terp Startup Sustainable Socialite

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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.

The Sustainable Socialite

Founder: Sarah Lader ’20, Family Science

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

Founder, Sarah Lader

Lader: Vintage fashion isn’t affordable, thrift stores aren’t time efficient, and retail stores are not only poor quality, but harm the environment with every new item made. The Sustainable Socialite curates bold, quality, unique pre-loved pieces to sell at an affordable price so that you can stand out from the crowd while standing up to fight against fast fashion. Not only that, but we’ll be bringing the product directly to you to try and fall in love with! With a new mobile boutique, this innovative company will be a one of a kind shopping experience.

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Upgrade Your Style with Terp Startup Wanderlust Wardrobe

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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.

Wanderlust Wardrobe

Founder: Lucy Bedewi ’20, Marketing

Logo (1)

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

Bedewi: Shopping is confusing. Styling yourself and dressing well is an art. Every single day we are flooded with ads telling us what to wear, where to shop, what’s in style and that we have to buy all of it. Through Wanderlust Wardrobe, I help people discover what to wear through easy and accessible fashion styling resources. By using a combination of face to face styling, video chatting and texting, everyone is now able to find confidence in their wardrobe every single day.

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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Terp Startup SweetsbyCaroline

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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.

SweetsbyCaroline

Founder: Caroline Ta ’21, Marketing major

logo 2 (1)DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Ta: SweetsbyCaroline is a baking business that specializes in custom gluten free french macarons, as well as cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts that are perfect for engagements, weddings, parties, and other events. It’s estimated that over 32 million Americans have food allergies and 1% of the U.S. population has Celiac disease. As consumers today are opting to follow a healthy lifestyle and reaching for all natural and convenient options, we want to provide health conscious people with affordable, custom gluten free bite sized desserts, to satisfy their sweet craving. We have an assortment of unique flavors such as fruity pebbles and s’mores and a variety of packaging options that are great for any event.

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Senior Send-Off: Ladies First Founders

In our Senior Send-Off series, the Dingman Center celebrates the student founders who are part of the graduating class of spring 2020. We are so pleased to have had the chance to get to know each of these talented entrepreneurs through our programs. 

Ladies First headshots

From left: Jessica Rosenthal, Monica Pizzo, Hannah Shraim, Lucy Bedewi, Dana Hashem

Ladies First Founders

Lucy Bedewi ’20 (Cohort 3), Marketing major, founder of Wanderlust Wardrobe
Dana Hashem ’20 (Cohort 2), Neuroscience major, founder of Care for a Terp
Monica Pizzo ’20 (Cohort 3), Chinese Language major, founder of LUMXN
Jessica Rosenthal ’20 (Cohort 1), Mechanical engineering major, founder of Good Stuff Good Works
Hannah Shraim ’20 (Cohort 3), Business management major, founder of Libre Looks

Today is the final day of classes for cohort 3 of Ladies First Founders, our course for female and non-binary founders to gain the necessary business skills and soft skills to successfully launch a startup. We sat down with some past and present cohort members who are graduating this spring to touch base on their ventures, their post-graduation plans and learn more about how they grew during and after the course.

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Dingman TV: The Sustainable Socialite

Dingman TV is a channel brought to you by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at Maryland Smith featuring all infomercials, all the time! These commercials are produced by student entrepreneurs at University of Maryland to showcase their products and services, drive traffic to their websites and gather feedback and support from potential customers in the UMD community and beyond. 

SustainableSocialiteThe Sustainable Socialite

The Sustainable Socialite is a sustainable fashion startup founded by University of Maryland student Sarah Lader ’20.  Sarah completed this video for the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders: New Venture Practicum course, taught by Maryland Smith professor Oliver Schlake. In addition to New Venture Practicum, Sarah is a member of the spring 2020 Ladies First Founders cohort and will be participating in the Summer 2020 virtual Terp Startup Accelerator. She also aims to spread her passion for entrepreneurship as the new President of EnTERPreneur, the undergraduate entrepreneurship club at UMD.

Follow The Sustainable Socialite, browse and buy their looks on Instagram: @thesustainablesocialite.