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7 Things I’ve Learned About Student Entrepreneurs

People are often surprised at how many students are starting businesses. We see it everyday. From engineers, to journalists, to student athletes, a few things are common among young Terps who work with the Dingman Center. Here are seven things I’ve learned about today’s generation of entrepreneurs:

7. They can dream up a new startup idea every hour and get enthusiastic about it every time.
Justin Searles of VentureBoard has pitched 3 ideas during his time at Maryland; each one better than the last.

6. Student entrepreneurs are great multitaskers. They can work on several startups at a time, all the while managing coursework load and maintaining their grades. 
Ben Simon is putting an equal amount of energy into 2 startups: Food Recovery Network and MyMaryland.net

5. They prefer to work on their startups at night—that’s when Dingman shared work-space is buzzing with activity.
You can often find Cristina Huidobro and her twin sister Catalina working on Destinalo in the Dingman Center’s bullpen.

4. Student entrepreneurs don’t think they know it all. In fact, they prefer getting advice and coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs over figuring everything out on their own.
161 students pitched their business ideas to our entrepreneurs-in-residence this past year.

3. They aren’t afraid to share their ideas, offer advice and help each other, even if it means helping their competition.
Daniel Noskin of Parallel Tracks helped fellow Pitch Dingman Competition competitor Suyash Mehta of UPride to perfect his pitch and win 2nd place.

2. They prefer to work in a small startup space rather than in a nice corporate office.
Ben Solomon just completed his MBA, but instead of looking for a corporate job he plans on working on his startup The Hyperion Project from a local business incubator.

1. While they are risk-takers, they are not reckless and take calculated risks.
Eric Mintzer of imagine(x) lined up paying customers before quitting his job and working on his startup full-time.

The campus is mostly quiet during the summer so I can’t wait for the students to return in August full of fresh ideas and determination. Who knows? Maybe there will be even more to learn from a new class of student entrepreneurs.

ACheadshotSince joining the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship in 2008, Alla Corey has been managing the center’s service offerings for student entrepreneurs including Pitch Dingman, Dingman Jumpstart, EnTERPreneur Academy, Terp Marketplace, and Cupid’s Cup Business Competition. Prior to joining the Dingman Center, Alla spent 8 years in the publishing industry. Alla graduated from the part-time MBA program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business in May 2013 and is re-discovering TV, movies and books in her newly found leisure time.
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