Category Archives: social entrepreneurship

Senior Send-Off: The Synapto Team

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. 

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From left: Chris Look, Anoop Patel, Megha Guggari, David Boegner, Dhruv Patel

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Co-founder & CEO – Dhruv Patel ’20, Bioengineering major
Co-founder & CTO – Christopher Look ’20, Bioengineering major
Lead Systems Engineer – David Boegner ’20, Bioengineering major
Lead Software Engineer – Megha Guggari ’20, Bioengineering major
Lead R&D Engineer – Anoop Patel ’20, Bioengineering major

The Synapto team is made up of five University of Maryland bioengineering majors who are using a portable EEG and machine learning to provide doctors with a more efficient tool to diagnose Alzheimer’s. Having worked on this idea since 2017, the team has achieved many milestones along the way, including a prize from NIH, second place at the 2018 Do Good Challenge, and third place at the 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition Finals. The Dingman Center has had numerous opportunities to watch these founders grow: Chris Look enrolled in our Terp Startup accelerator for a different idea, Senvision, as a freshman; David Boegner and Anoop Patel represented Synapto in the 2018 Terp Startup cohort; and Megha Guggari was part of the first cohort of Ladies First Founders. The Synapto team took home our Rudy Award for Social Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2019, and we are excited to see how these impressive founders continue to shine post-graduation.

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Student Insights from the Hisaoka Speaker Series featuring Seth Goldman

On October 30, 2019, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series invited Seth Goldman, the co-founder and Tea-EO emeritus of Honest Tea and Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, for an intimate conversation with Robert Hisaoka ’79 at The Clarice. Read on for one student’s insights on Goldman’s talk.

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by: Allison Criswell ’21

In a world where obesity is on the rise and Mother Nature is on the fall, “healthy and sustainable” has become something of a societal trend. Eating clean and taking care of the earth has never been cooler. But when it comes to our taste buds, we don’t like to make sacrifices unless the alternative is just as delicious. Lucky for us, Seth Goldman, Co-Founder of Honest Tea and Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, has spent the last two decades making it possible to be an environmentalist and a health nut without giving up flavor.

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Terp Startup BreakBox Has a Fun Solution for Recycling Glass: Throw It

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the fifteen student startups who are participating in our Terp Startup summer accelerator at the College Park WeWork. 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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Break Box-01Break Box Recycling Inc.

Founder & CEO: Ryan Perpall ’20, Environmental Anthropology

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

Perpall: Although glass containers can be recycled endlessly, without losing strength or purity, they are the number one contaminators of recycled paper, plastic and aluminum. Removing post-consumer glass from the recycling stream helps other items retain their post-market value, and lowers the contamination level in county Material Recovery Facilities.

Our solution is to divert post-consumer glass away from the landfill and towards alternative end-markets that include glass artists, construction companies, & homeowners. Our most notable glass diversion operation is our Bottle Throwing Trailer. We built an outdoor, mobile unit that allows people (18+) to break glass containers by throwing them against a ‘break wall’ inside the trailer. We provide break games, music and LED lights to enhance the break experience. All of the glass broken at the Bottle Throwing trailer is barreled up and repurposed for use in the construction industry or by local glass artists. 

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Takeaways from Cohort 2 of Ladies First Founders

 

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Today marks the last class of the semester for Ladies First Founders, a one-credit course led by Sara Herald, the Dingman Center’s associate director for social entrepreneurship. Last year, Sara launched Ladies First Founders as part of the Center’s Ladies First initiative to get more women engaged in entrepreneurship programming at University of Maryland. Ladies First Founders provides a platform for aspiring female and non-binary founders across campus to come together, find community and learn strategies for overcoming the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

Last week, each female founder in the course provided perspective on their journey this semester to a room of their peers, Dingman Center staff and mentors. While many made significant progress on developing their ideas, all of these young women reflected on the value of the course for their own personal growth. Below are some notes on each of the founders, their ideas and their journeys.

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OnCall Reflects on Participating in Hult@UMD

We’re very excited to feature a piece written by the winners of the 2019 “Hult@UMD” competition, as they reflect on their experience from the initial concept for their idea all the way to competing at the Regional level of the Hult Prize in Boston.

How to Change the World: One Pitch at a Time

By Rasheeq Rayhan, MBA ’20

It all started with a lunch at Rudy’s Café on a fine November afternoon. My friend Alex Woo, a Master of Biomedical Engineering Candidate and Robert Fischell Institute Fellow, was working on a project to build a new medical device. We started to explore the implications of such a device if it were introduced in a developing country, where medical technology was mostly outdated, number of skilled doctors was inadequate and primary healthcare was highly expensive.

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An Interview with Hult@UMD Winner OnCall

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In the fall semester, OnCall was crowned winner of the Hult Prize competition at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Hult Prize is the largest student social enterprise case competition in the world. On Friday, November 30th, fifteen teams competed in a local edition of the event to solve the challenge of how to develop a business idea to create 10,000 meaningful jobs for young people over the next decade. OnCall will move onto the regional level of the Hult Prize competition to be held this weekend in March 2019 in Boston.  

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Introducing the Spring 2019 Cohort of Ladies First Founders

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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:

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A Tour of Entrepreneurship & Innovation in France & Morocco

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Medina in Marrakech

In collaboration with the Center for Global Business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship sent Student Venture Programs Manager Chris Rehkamp, MS ’18 on a study abroad program highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship in France and Morocco. The program was led by Smith School Associate Professor Oliver Schlake. The following is one student’s reflection of their experience.

by: Hannah Shraim ’20

In the span of ten days, I visited three countries, submerged myself into two very distinct cultures, and drank lots and lots of tea. Let me explain.

Rather than simply getting an education, securing a job, and acquiring a well-paying salary, I want to do more with my degree. I am a big believer that business can be used to solve social issues, so starting organizations that can utilize profits that serve underprivileged communities is something I have always been eager to explore.

I was granted the opportunity to study entrepreneurship and innovation in France and Morocco with a remarkable group of Terps. As a person who studied French since the age of four, I was particularly excited to go on this trip. While we stopped by Monaco for a day—hence the third country—the jist of our learning came from France and Morocco, which are connected by forty-four years of French occupation.

Besides the fact that both are francophone nations, there are certain commonalities within the entrepreneurial practices in France and Morocco. Notwithstanding, there are vast differences as well.

Now, let’s dive into what went down.

 

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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. 

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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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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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