Category Archives: student entrepreneur

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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Terp Startup Olympus Projects Connects Music Artists and Brands

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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Co-Founders Peter Robinson, Mike Duquette and Zubin Gadhoke

Olympus Projects

golyicon[V2]-01Co-Founder and CEO: Peter Robinson ’19, Public Relations major, Classical Mythology minor
Co-Founder and COO: Zubin Gadhoke ’19, Computer Science major, Innovation & Entrepreneurship minor
Co-Founder and CFO: Mike Duquette ’18, Economics & Finance double major

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

OP: There are two groups of people that Olympus Projects aims to help:

The first group is music artists. We help music artists monetize off of their brands and digital followings by bringing them influencer marketing opportunities. Artists are excited about this because it creates a new revenue stream for their business that gets them paid much quicker than traditional music revenue streams.

The second group is emerging brands. We help emerging brands strengthen their customer alignment, raise brand awareness and ultimately increase sales. Our influencer marketing campaigns allow brands to efficiently reach their target consumers through the social media platforms of growing music artists.

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Terp Startup Citizens of Earth Wants to Help You Grow an Edible Garden

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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Citizens of Earth -logo-01Citizens of Earth

Founder and CEO: Michael Sheehan ’18, Business Management major with a specialization in Entrepreneurship

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

Sheehan: Citizens of Earth has founded a mission to find solutions for sustainable living. Research has proven that our single largest use of land, water and fossil fuels comes from the production, distribution and processing of food. This is a major concern for social and environmental sustainability. As an organization, we provide a solution to improve food sustainability by increasing local and natural food production. Local and naturally grown food reduces waste and pollution associated with industrial food production. We offer a service to install and maintain edible gardens and landscapes. The purpose of our business model is to provide a chemical-free, eco-friendly, and high-quality food supply to homes and community centers. If every home produced seasonal fruit and vegetables we would all begin to live a healthier, happier and more harmonious lifestyle.

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Terp Startup Aurora Tights Celebrates Diversity with Athletic Apparel

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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Sydney Parker and Jasmine Snead

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Aurora Tights

CMO: Sydney Parker ’18, Communication major
Co-Founder and CFO: Jasmine Snead ’18, Government and Politics major
Co-Founder and COO: Imani Rickerby ’17, Public Health major

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

AT: Aurora Tights is an athletic brand that designs performance sports gear in an array of tones for all complexions and sizes. Currently, all performance athletes, especially those of darker skin tones, do not have appropriate gear to fit their tones and sizes.

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3 Key Lessons from the Inaugural Ladies First Founders Cohort

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From left: Fiona Whitefield, Jasmine Snead, Natalie Urban, Yinyin Liao, Jess Rosenthal, Sara Herald, Sydney Parker, Audrey Awasom, Megha Guggari, Maria Chen & Breonna Massey

Last week, the inaugural cohort of Ladies First Founders gave presentations on their entrepreneurial journeys. Each female student reflected not only on the growth of their business, but also on how they have personally grown since joining the class. Presentations were followed by feedback from the rest of the cohort, and for every young woman who presented, each of her peers had something uniquely positive to compliment about her confidence, delivery, style or attitude. Witnessing these women celebrate one another and show empathy for their shared struggles was a beautiful experience.

Throughout the presentations, it was evident that before Ladies First Founders, many of these women suffered in isolation from shared issues that, once together, they were able to properly identify and work to overcome. Here are some of the greatest outcomes of taking workshops and connecting with fellow female entrepreneurs in Ladies First Founders:

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Celebrating Entrepreneurship Day in Van Munching Hall

By: Eric Elliot

The Dingman Center is lucky to be a part of a fantastic community filled with motivated student and alumni entrepreneurs. To celebrate this strong spirit of entrepreneurship at UMD, we hosted Entrepreneurship Day on Tuesday, April 17, which featured student startups at Terp Marketplace during the afternoon and serial technology entrepreneur Raul Fernandez at the Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series later that evening.

Terp Marketplace

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Terp Marketplace was an opportunity for student startups to showcase and sell their products & services directly to the Smith community. This semester, we had a huge turnout from students, staff, faculty and alumni who were eager to see the 30 startups on display. A few participants featured included Pitch Dingman Competition second place winner Brianna Queen ’18 of BEEQBOX with her popular F*ckboy Repellent illuminating setting spray, and alumni startup FroDoh, who brought samples of their tasty frozen doughnut holes. The students who participated have taken part in our Fearless Founders Accelerator program, Ladies First Founders or Professor David Kressler’s 461 Entrepreneurship class.

Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series featuring Raul Fernandez

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UMD alumnus and highly successful entrepreneur Raul Fernandez ’90 traveled to Van Munching Hall for an intimate conversation with Robert Hisaoka ’79 on his experiences in entrepreneurship. As the former founder of Proxicom and currently the Vice Chairman and Owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Raul shared some of the key lessons he learned through his journey and valuable pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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An Inside Look at the Inaugural Ladies First Founders Cohort

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From left: Audrey Awasom, Yinyin Lao, Megha Guggari, Maria Chen, Natalie Urban, Breonna Massey, Sydney Parker, Jess Rosenthal, Jasmine Snead, Fiona Whitefield, Sara Herald

by: Megan McPherson

This semester, something truly remarkable is happening on Monday afternoons in the Smith School’s executive board room. Sitting around the room’s imposing conference table are the inaugural Ladies First Founders cohort, ten young women united by their experiences as female entrepreneurs. At the head of the table sits adjunct professor Sara Herald, 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. Yesterday, I was offered the privilege to sit in on the class and discover what Ladies First Founders is all about. What started out as an observational study for a blog post became an empowering exercise in what can happen when women are given a platform to learn from and support one another.

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An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: BEEQBOX

In anticipation of the final round of the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 6 in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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BEEQBOX

Brianna Queen, Founder & CEO

beelogo.pngJunior Information Science major Brianna Queen is the founder of BEEQBOX, a makeup brand targeted to millennials that sells illuminating setting sprays, glitter eyeshadow and lip palettes. Brianna started BEEQBOX in August 2016 as a subscription box service featuring black-owned makeup brands. Once she started getting orders, she decided to work on formulating a product of her own to include. That November, some negative personal experiences gave her the idea to create BEEQBOX’s flagship product, “F*ckboy Repellent”, an illuminating setting spray with packaging that promises its contents are vegan, cruelty-free, all-natural, and will also ward off advances from unworthy men. After sharing a photo of her product on social media it went viral, and was soon featured by popular style sites like Revelist and Instagram influencers who were excited to promote such an on-trend product. As Brianna prepares for Pitch Dingman Competition Finals, she’s looking to take her business to the next level.

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An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: Emprology

In anticipation of the final round of the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 6 in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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Emprology

Sydney Parker, Founder & CEO

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Senior communications major Sydney Parker is the founder, CEO and “Empress” of Emprology, an empowering influencer marketing consultancy that seeks to educate black female bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters on how to monetize their content. Sydney, who built her social media credentials through multiple Facebook internships, started Emprology as a service that provided her customers with one-on-one consultations, marketing plans and creative assets to enhance their brand presence. With some concerns about overtaxing her own bandwidth, she recently launched a school for aspiring influencers called #BrandBoss Academy. As part of this school model,  established macro-influencers teach classes and provide mentorship to aspiring influencers, who pay an appropriate fee for the privilege. Sydney has been developing Emprology since spring 2017, when she first entered the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders Accelerator. Through grit and determination, Sydney has built Emprology into a one-stop-shop for black women who want to learn how to make a living off of their passions.

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