Tag Archives: competition

Pitch Dingman Competition Results!

Earlier today, five student startups pitched to a panel of judges for the first Pitch Dingman Competition of 2013. The competition was fierce and each entrepreneur put up equally compelling arguments for their ventures. In the end the judges and audience both chose Wheel Shields as their winning student startup, with UPride receiving 2nd place honors. Wheel Shields was awarded $2,250 and a Cupid’s Cup prize package allowing the company to participate in the Cupid’s Cup Business & Innovation Showcase on April 5. UPride took home $500 to propel their business. Congratulations to both startups, the Dingman Center expects great things from you in the future!


We’d also like to recognize Parallel Tracks, Electric Squeeze and Adaptive Motion Technologies for giving great pitches, we wish them the best in their ventures, and given their performance, we’re sure they’re well on their way!

About Wheel Shields

Student Entrepreneur: Chase Kaczmarek

Shield Boards, LCC produces my patented invention Wheel Shields. Wheel Shields are a skateboarding accessory that solve “wheel bite” (a dangerous safety problem), keep riders dry and allow riders to stand over their wheels. “Wheel bite” occurs during hard turns when wheels come in contact with the deck, stopping the board and throwing riders to the pavement. Wheel Shields completely eliminate “wheel bite” and work universally with any skateboard. Wheel Shields have gone viral: our Facebook page has over 25,000 likes, we’re endorsed by a Guinness world record-holding skater, and we are in an upcoming edition of Heelside Magazine.

About Pitch Dingman Competition

Twice a semester, students can compete for $2,750 in start-up funding at the Pitch Dingman Competition. Everyone is welcome to attend Pitch Dingman Competitions as an audience member and there is no need to register. The next Pitch Dingman Competition is scheduled for Friday May 10, 2013 Interested in competing? Start with an informal Pitch Dingman Session

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Semi-Finalists for the 2013 Cupid’s Cup Announced!

Founded in 2006, Cupid’s Cup is the flagship entrepreneurship event at the University of Maryland. Many student entrepreneurs from the University of Maryland have competed on the main stage for the chance to win the cup and recognition for their ventures. This year, the organizers of Cupid’s Cup, Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, decided to raise the stakes and make the Cupid’s Cup a national competition, seeking the best student-run business in the United States!

After a long and difficult deliberation, we are proud to announce the semi-finalists for Cupid’s Cup 2013.  These teams will be attending the Cupid’s Cup Semi-Final Round at Under Armour HQ in Baltimore, MD next Thursday, February 21, where the top 5 teams will be chosen to pitch at the Final Round on Friday, April 5 at the University of Maryland.

Find out who made the cut in the official press release: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/news/releases/2013/021413.aspx

Cupid’s Cup is where you’ll find the coolest innovations from the UMD campus and  the mid-Atlantic region all under one roof. Pick the brains of entrepreneurs from all kinds of businesses. Take a break from the dining halls and your usual lunch spots and visit the food trucks. Get to the competition early to score one of our limited-edition t-shirts. And definitely stay to watch our competitors duke it out in front of Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank. Find out more at http://www.cupidscup.com

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Smith MBA Wins 8th Annual China Business Plan Competition!

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In January, 18 MBA students from the University of Maryland headed across the pacific to Beijing to compete in the 8th Annual China Business Plan Competition. This annual event, co-hosted by the Robert H. Smith School of Business and the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, brought together entrepreneurial students from the United States, China and Israel, to see who can deliver the best pitch for their innovative business idea that leverages Chinese resources.  The Smith teams made a strong showing, with three teams making it to the final round of competition, and one Smith team taking the grand prize! We caught up with Yuan He, apart-time MBA student and sole team member of the winning team, Honeymoon Honey, to get his thoughts on the competition and the trip:

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Yuan (pronounced “one”). I am currently pursuing both an MBA and an MS in Finance at the Smith School. At Smith, I serve on the boards for Net Impact and Finance Association as well as participate in the Global Equity Fund as a managing member.  I also hold a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Outside of school, I run my own company called HY Financial, LLC, as an independent registered investment advisor helping individuals reaching their financial goals. I also hold a position at the Defense Information Systems Agency, working in acquisition and system engineering.

Q. What was the business idea that you pitched and how did you come up with the idea?

The company that I pitched at the competition is called Honeymoon Honey. Basically, the honeybee population has plummeted since the 1950’s and it has become more and more challenging for farmers to pollinate their crops. In some countries, farmers have even resorted to pollinating their crops by hand. At Honeymoon Honey, we rent honeybee hives to these farmers to help them increase crop production while reducing the amount of manual labor needed. We then take the honey produced by the rented beehives and make them into high quality cosmetic products.

I got the idea from my friend Andy, who was also the very first friend I made in the U.S. some 20 years ago. His wife’s family had long been making honey based products as a hobby and would occasionally sell their products at the local farmer’s market. Andy saw the business potential in honey products and came to me in 2011 with the idea that eventually became Honeymoon Honey.  We have been working on the business ever since.

Q. How was your experience at the China Business Plan Competition?

It was an awesome experience! The advice and feedback from Prof. Bob Baum, John LaPides, and Elana Fine of the Dingman Center were invaluable, and the experience of learning how to put together a pitch was very rewarding. Both Bob and John would always be able to identify new areas for improvements at end of each advising session. I went in to every session wondering “what can they possibly say now?” The difference between my initial pitch and what I presented at the finals were definitely night and day.

Of course, it all pays off in the end when you’re standing before the judges and full audience at the final round. I am sure would not have been able to win the competition without everyone’s support, and I am thankful to the Dingman Center for that memorable moment.

Q. How was the rest of the trip?  Would you recommend it to other MBAs?

My trip was a little different than rest of the group since I used to live in Beijing, but I would highly recommend the trip and the competition to all other MBA students. There are a lot of opportunities in China, especially in this modern era, and I encourage other students to visit China and learn about what these opportunities can mean for them. Taking classes inside the walls of Van Munching Hall may be exciting enough, but it’s what you do outside those walls that will make your MBA a memorable experience.

Q. What are the next steps for Honeymoon Honey?

The future is very exciting for Honeymoon Honey. We are actually currently in negotiations with a few national retailers in the U.S. who are interested in working with us. In addition, I had several meetings with local VC firms in China after the competition that opened new doors for the business as well. Don’t be surprised if you see Honeymoon Honey in China in a few years.

Q. Any general advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?

You’ve got to love your business and believe in it before you can make others believe in it as well. When you really believe in your idea, it makes more thoughtful about your business, hungrier for advice, and more passionate in your pitches.

Since 2006, more than $200,000 has been awarded to promising entrepreneurs in  the China Business Plan  Competition co-hosted by the Smith School’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. The CBPC is held as part of a week-long global studies trip and satisfies 3 credits of the Smith Experience MBA curriculum. The competition and trip is open to all UMD students at any degree level. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/dingman/students/CBPC/

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Meet the Feb. 15 Pitch Dingman Competition Finalists!

The first Pitch Dingman Competition of 2013 will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15 at Tyser Auditorium in Van Munching Hall.  Five UMD-based student startups will pitch for the chance to win $2,500 in startup funding. In addition, audience members will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite entrepreneur of the day to award them with additional prizes!

Here’s a little preview of our finalists:

3841_356297531135361_89754252_nParallel Tracks
EnTERPreneur Academy Member
Team: Daniel Noskin, Vinnie Vendemia, Scott Block, and Jeff Hilnbrand

Parallel Tracks is a social networking web site and mobile application that gives users the ability to broadcast and listen to music with others in real time, creating a more social and enjoyable listening experience. Using a twitter like interface, users can “track” more than just their friends. They can also follow their favorite celebrities, athletes, and musicians to discover new music in a unique way. Detailed analytics help users strategize their music brand so that they can target specific audiences and advertise accordingly. Now everyone has a music voice. Play it louder!

Logo_20Adaptive Motion Technologies
EnTERPreneur Academy Member, Dingman Jumpstart
Team: Yoni Kozlowski, Emmanuel Klein, and Jonathan Howarth

Adaptive Motion Technologies LLC is a medical device development company that intends to design, patent, and market prosthetic devices related to the fit and comfort of the human/prosthetic interface. A group of engineers are currently developing three devices designed with the participation of prosthetists, physicians, surgeons, and patents.  The principal technique for maintaining a secure fitting of a prosthetic device with a patient is through the use of a socket. A properly fitted socket distributes the forces on the prosthetic device around the patents limb while holding the socket aligned and in place. This is primarily accomplished through the use of custom made shells which are formed based on molds of the patient’s limb. This process is both limited in function and expensive in practice costing about a billion dollars per year in the United States alone. Adaptive Motion Technologies LLC has developed technology which would allow a socket to conform to the unique and variable shape of a patient’s limb every time they don their socket. This would allow sockets to be used comfortably over longer periods of time and without the need for custom components reducing the overall cost. Adaptive Motion Technologies LLC intends to license this technology to a larger company. In this way the company will mature quickly from product development.

EnTERPreneur Academy Member
Team: Suyash Mehta and Dan Martinez

UPride is an innovative apparel company that strives to bring universities across the nation pride gear. The target audience for the company has no boundaries; it can apply to all ages depending on the nature of the merchandise. Currently, the majority of our merchandise is Maryland Flag themed. We constantly are designing new designs to keep our target audience up to date with the current fashion trends. We have started talking to many large companies about supplying them with our merchandise. In the near future, we plan on branching out and becoming a distributor as well as a retailer.

601249_413571745384601_408988131_nThe Electric Squeeze
Team: Julian Ragland, Fuad Balashov, and Eugene Skinner

The Electric Squeeze is a business dedicated to bringing a culture of music into College Park while helping to create opportunities for local, partner, DJ’s.  The business was originally formed as a blog to share the music that its founders listed to with their friends. As it grew, the opportunity to host events at local venues and establish a physical presence presented itself. Since the fall of 2012 the Electric Squeeze has organized seven events in three venues, both in DC and College Park. We plan to continue our growth and would value the Dingman Center’s assistance.

9695_471694029535714_1794550549_nWheel Shields
Team: Chase Kaczmarek

Shield Boards, LCC produces my patented invention Wheel Shields. Wheel Shields are a skateboarding accessory that solve “wheel bite” (a dangerous safety problem), keep riders dry and allow riders to stand over their wheels. “Wheel bite” occurs during hard turns when wheels come in contact with the deck, stopping the board and throwing riders to the pavement. Wheel Shields completely eliminate “wheel bite” and work universally with any skateboard. Wheel Shields have gone viral: our Facebook page has over 25,000 likes, we’re endorsed by a Guinness world record-holding skater, and we are in an upcoming edition of Heelside Magazine.

Interested in being a part of the action? Your first step would be to attend a Pitch Dingman informal advising session to talk to one of our expert Entrepreneurs-in-Residence who will help point you in the right direction.  Pitch Dingman informal advising sessions take place every Friday during the school year from 11am to 1pm at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

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Top Ten Reasons to Compete in Cupid’s Cup

The University of Maryland and Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, are looking for the nation’s best student-run businesses. For those passionate entrepreneurs who are still on the fence about applying, here are the top ten reasons why you should apply:

10. Win the prestigious Cupid’s Cup, the University of Maryland’s top entrepreneurial prize.

9. Take part in the exciting startup scene in the DC area, one of the fastest growing entrepreneur communities in the nation.

8. Receive local and national exposure.  Let the world know about your great work.

7. Visit Under Armour’s corporate HQ in Baltimore, MD for the Cupid’s Cup Training Camp and Semi-final competition.

6. Show your passion on center stage.  If you make it past the semi-finals, pitch your business on April 5 to a panel of expert judges and in front of 1,000 attendees.

5. See how you stack against the best in the nation.

4. Be among some great company of Cupid’s Cup alumni and success stories, which include tech, consumer product, media, and even event production companies.

3. Network with the “who’s who” in entrepreneurship and investing from the Mid-Atlantic region.  In addition to winning cash prizes, you might also meet your next investor.

2. Compete for $70K in cash prizes to turn your startup dreams into reality.

1. Gain access to the professional network of Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour and Maryland’s most famous student entrepreneur!

Interested now?  On Friday, January 4 from noon to 1 p.m. the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship will host a virtual information session that will answer any questions you may have about Cupid’s Cup. You will also get the inside scoop on the prize package and more. Register today:  http://ter.ps/ccinfo

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EnTERPreneur Academy Profile – Triple Impact

To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Dingman Center is featuring a series of blog posts about our EnTERPreneur Acadmey, a program to help guide student ventures from idea to launch. The Academy provides members with a variety of resources including startup fundamentals workshops, advising, office space, selling opportunities and seed funding. The Academy’s three stages Idea Shell, Hatch and Terp Startup provide students with specific resources and requirements that suit the level of progress for their ventures.

Our last featured startup is Triple Impact, founded by EnTERPreneur Academy member Abby Murray and her co-founders. Abby is a senior at the University of Maryland who came up with Triple Impact as part of the Smith School’s Social Innovation Fellows Program. Triple Impact won the Audience Choice Award for the Pitch Dingman Competition at last year’s Social Enterprise Symposium (hosted by the Smith School’s Center for Social Value Creation) and is poised to do great things in the Corporate Social Responsibility space.  Read the Q&A to find out more about Triple Impact!

Q: Please describe your business.

A: Triple Impact works closely with a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility department or leadership development team to provide the corporation’s employees a system where they can leverage their skills to support underdeveloped communities. We coordinate meaningful corporate service projects both domestically and abroad that provide benefits the company, the employees and the community. Through these meaningful projects, we strive to transform communities and enrich companies through developing employee leadership, world awareness and motivation.

Q: How did you get the idea for your business?

A: In the fall of 2011, my partners and I were brought together by the Robert H. Smith School of Business’ Social Innovation Fellows program where we were given the assignment of developing a business plan for a non-profit or social enterprise. We soon realized that we all had a similar view: one should not have to choose between conventional and altruistic career paths. Triple Impact was created to be a solution for having to choose between going into a corporate setting or the field of development/non-profits after graduation.

Q: What phase is your venture in and what are your next steps?

A: We recently presented to our first potential client, the R.H. Smith School of Business, which is developing a leadership institute for its top-performing faculty and staff.  We are also registered as a Benefit L.L.C. in Maryland. From a marketing perspective, we have created a website and set up various forms of social media.  We are currently in the process of scaling our business plan to a more manageable size and setting realistic goals for the next year. Additionally, we are working to form strong partnerships with both local and global non-profits as well as organizations in the development field. This will not only be very helpful to us from an informational perspective but it will give us access to communities worldwide.

Q: What drew you to become entrepreneurs?

A: We are all business students with entrepreneurial mindsets as well as a passion for service. As a result of our involvement in the Social Innovation Fellows Program, we saw that it was possible to combine these two passions. Triple Impact is a company that we all truly believe in and we can all see ourselves spending the rest of our careers working towards our ultimate goal: to live in a world where all corporations enrich the world we live in as part of their normal operations.

Q: As a student startup, what are some of the challenges that you face?

A: Like many startup companies, Triple Impact faces challenges in obtaining customers. While we have done extensive research, built our networks, and honed our leadership skills with service projects abroad, we face challenges in identifying ways to convey our value to potential clients. To address these challenges, we have been proactive in seeking advice from investors, professors and mentors to build a plan to not only boost our experience but also our confidence. We are also focusing on understanding our market, clearly identifying our unique value proposition and establishing an experienced set of advisors who can offer advice while lending credibility to our venture.

Q: How did the Dingman Center contribute to the development of your start up?

A: The Dingman Center has always been a great resource and has truly been the differentiator in the development of our company. We participated in the Pitch Dingman Competition this past March and received $250 in seed funding by winning the audience choice award. With this money, we were able to advance our business by printing business cards and hiring a web designer. Through working with the Dingman Center and the momentum we gained from Pitch Dingman, we were able to reach out to our first investor who contributed $1,000 to help kick start our business.

Q: What about being a part of the EnTERPreneur Academy excites you the most?

A: We are all incredibly excited about being a part of the EnTERPreneur Academy. When building a venture from scratch, it is always great to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share the same passion for entrepreneurship. The idea of collaborating with other student entrepreneurs who can also make an impact on the development of our business is really exciting. In addition, having a designated office space where all four of our founders can meet is also a great help given our busy schedules.

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EnTERPreneur Academy Profile – Comrade Brewing Company

To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Dingman Center is featuring a series of blog posts about our EnTERPreneur Acadmey, a program to help guide student ventures from idea to launch. The Academy provides members with a variety of resources including startup fundamentals workshops, advising, office space, selling opportunities and seed funding. The Academy’s three stages Idea Shell, Hatch and Terp Startup provide students with specific resources and requirements that suit the level of progress for their ventures.

Today’s featured startup is Comrade Brewing Company, the dream company of EnTERPreneur Academy member, David Lin. David is a Full Time MBA student at the University of Maryland who can frequently be found in the halls of the Dingman Center volunteering with programs and absorbing everything he can about entrepreneurship. David’s company, Comrade Brewing, was an honorable mention at the 2012 China Business Plan Competition and also an audience choice award winner at Pitch Dingman.  Read the Q&A to find out more about David and his business, Comrade Brewing Company!

Q: Please describe your business.

A: Comrade Brewing Company will be a Denver, CO based business that will brew and serve hand crafted beer, free of corn syrup and chemically modified hop extract. Customers will be able to visit and drink beer by the glass on the brewery premises.  The brewery will follow a tasting room model, where no food and only beer is served.  I’m planning to head back to Denver after finishing up my MBA this semester and I hope to open sometime in 2013.

Q: How did you get the idea for your business?

A: Ever since I started brewing professionally in 2005, I have known that I eventually wanted to work in the craft beer industry full time.  I saw the success of other breweries and thought to myself, hat a great way to make a living, doing what I love and what I would normally be doing anyways. After two years of brainstorming, the name of Comrade Brewing came to me one day while I was on vacation.  In the brewing industry, there is a lot of camaraderie between small breweries who often help each other out. I want to showcase this “brotherhood” as well as provide the foundation for some funny “tongue in cheek” beer names.  The idea for a tasting room model was something that always intrigued me as I visited breweries across the country.
Q: What phase is your venture in and what are your next steps?

A: We’re on our way to becoming operational.  I have already taken on a talented brewmaster as a partner, contracted my raw materials, talked with equipment manufacturers, met with cities, and looked at zoning.  I also have nearly all the funding I need as well as the domains, social media handles, and incorporation needed to start my business.  My next step is to sign a lease on a building, place the down payment on the brewhouse, apply for federal and state licensing and permits, and begin construction.

Q: As a student start up, what are some of the challenges that you face?

A: This is a brick-and-mortar business, and because my business is located in Denver, being 1,500 miles away makes it difficult for me to do things like overseeing construction.  There’s only so much I can do electronically or via paper.  While I’m enjoying my time as a student here at Smith, I am eager to head back to Denver once I graduate to oversee the remaining steps to opening the brewery.

Q: How did the Dingman Center contribute to the development of your startup?

A: The Entrepreneurs in Residence have been an incredible resource. Some of them have had relevant experience on starting a food service company and have advised me on the common pitfalls of the industry. Being part of the Dingman Center’s active entrepreneurial community has also given me the opportunity to listen to a variety of business ideas and taught me how to look at them from a more critical business standpoint giving me a framework that I would use while running the brewery.

Q: What about being a part of the EnTERPreneur Academy excites you the most?

A: Meeting all the other students who are as passionate and driven as I am. There are so many people out there that say that they have a passion for something, but in reality I believe they just like the idea of that something.  My fellow Academy members are people with the initiative to actually pursue their passions.  The networking with these passionate people, as well as sharing feedback on our ideas, has been incredibly helpful and rewarding.

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EnTERPreneur Academy Profile – imagine(x)

To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Dingman Center is featuring a series of blog posts about our EnTERPreneur Acadmey, a program to help guide student ventures from idea to launch. The Academy provides members with a variety of resources including startup fundamentals workshops, advising, office space, selling opportunities and seed funding. The Academy’s three stages Idea Shell, Hatch and Terp Startup provide students with specific resources and requirements that suit the level of progress for their ventures.

Today’s featured startup is imagine(x), the brainchild of EnTERPreneur Academy member, Eric Mintzer. Eric is also an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland who has been engaging frequently with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Eric’s current startup, imagine(x), which was the runner-up at last month’s Pitch Dingman Competition, is an engineering firm poised to change the way we experience performance art.  Read the Q&A to find out more about Eric and his business, imagine(x)!

Q: Please describe your business.

A: imagine(x) is a creative engineering firm which bridges the gap between science and art.  We strive to develop the most innovative and awe-inspiring technologies of the future, today.  We specialize in augmented reality, pixel mapping, interactive installations, and real time visualizations.

Q: How did you get the idea for your business?

A: I had the idea to create imagine(x) after being blown away by incredible stage setups and immersive entertainment environments.  I wondered, “What can we come up with next?” and decided to become part of that ‘we’ by creating systems that allow concert-goers to naturally interact with these complex audio-visual systems.

Q: What phase is your venture in and what are your next steps?

A: imagine(x) is hatching.  My next step is to finish developing various projects I am working on, while servicing a handful of clients to enhance my portfolio and create revenue to reinvest.

Q: What drew you to become an extrepreneur?

A: I attribute three large areas of my life that contributed towards my entrepreneurial motivations: my parents, my education, and the internet.

My parents, from a very young age, prioritized the importance of being happy and doing what I wanted to do.  This was very different from what my outside environment suggested – financial success.  When financial success became less important, education towards an industrial job became boring and I started doing what any middle-school student would do for fun – independently studying computer programming.  This old drive to Create has gratefully stayed with me long enough to be amplified by the University of Maryland with their unparalleled support and initiatives.

Q: As a student startup, what are some of the challenges that you face?

A: Apart from my daily challenges of generating and debugging code, my greatest is managing my time efficiently.   I have various business oriented goals that involves marketing, branding, analyzing and more, but I am more interested in testing and bringing new technology to the market quickly.  This temporary solution is allowing me to super-accelerate my learning and development, but also has the potential to restrict the speed of business growth.

Q: How did the Dingman Center contribute to the development of your startup?

A: The Dingman Center has been a tremendous resource for my venture.  Faculty and staff have provided me with outstanding mentorship; entrepreneurs-in-residence and alumni have consistently offered guidance and experience; the supporting network and relationships connected me with industry leaders, potential clients and growth opportunities; and the workshops, speaker events and week-long summer entrepreneurship boot camp provided hands-on education, real life experiences, and startup funding.

While many classes at the University teach you to learn from the past using best practices and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship expands on this by also encouraging and fostering innovation and leadership for an unpredictable future.

Q: What about being a part of the EnTERPreneur Academy excites you the most?

A: The enTERPreneur Academy is a large leap forward towards alternate opportunities and reform in education for students that strive on it,\ and I am excited to be in the inaugural EnTERPreneur Academy class!  I am anxious to watch the growth of this program and the successful stories that result from it.

Come back for tomorrow’s feature!  And don’t forget to “like” the Dingman Center’s Facebook Page tomorrow!  One lucky new fan will receive an awesome prize package from the Dingman Center for liking us tomorrow for our Facebook Challenge!

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Checking in with our Cupid’s Cup 2012 Winner

An interview with Ryan Hogan of Reed Street Productions, operators of
Run For Your Lives zombie-themed races

Why did you apply to compete in Cupid’s Cup?
I heard about the competition last year in Managerial Accounting when a representative came in to distribute flyers. At that time, I had the up-and-coming athletic training apparel brand Warwear and immediately wanted to get exposure via the competition; and the added bonus of a little competitive flare with Kevin Plank. We were in the early stages of Run For Your Lives but knew that Reed Street Productions may become the better choice because of its tremendous growth and attention.

What was the most valuable part of participating in Cupid’s Cup?
One word: Experience. From the public speaking to the presentation preparation, these experiences are invaluable. Foundation can be built with books, but personal and professional development mainly relies on experiences and application.

What was the most challenging part of being in the competition?
Time management. Between my family, the military, managing two companies, and my studies as an undergrad, time management was essential to pursuing success at the Cupid’s Cup.

How did you prepare for the live presentation?
In the initial stages, preparation was limited. We already had an active business plan on file which I simply sent in the day the Dingman Center began accepting applications. We found out about the semi-finalist decision the week of our second event in Atlanta, GA. Our graphic designer created branded PowerPoint slides, and I filled in the blanks for the first presentation. Needless to say, I arrived back from the Georgia event on Monday morning at 3AM, went to class the next day, built the presentation that evening, then pitched first thing Tuesday morning to the semi-finalist panel.

The finalists were fortunate enough to have a couple weeks to build bigger presentations with the help of business consultants from the Dingman Center. A lot of great advice was given during these coaching sessions. Once my presentation was finalized, I developed and recorded my script. During my daily two hour commute to College Park, I would listen to it 20 times. Once home in the evening, I would edit and re-record to enhance, then start the process all over during the morning commute. It was 72-hours prior to the competition that I began utilizing peers, paper cut outs of the judges, and a vacant classroom to run through the pitch. Thursday evening before the event, I retired early and returned home for rest as I had ran through the presentation – at the minimum – 100 times.

What piece of advice can you give to other companies who want to apply to compete in Cupid’s Cup next year?
Apply! What’s the worst that could happen? As a business owner, you’ll need to learn to deal with rejection so even if the panel declines your application – don’t stop. Continue to pursue your dreams – and ultimately, personal happiness.

Advice once making the cut: I heard a lot of “if you know your business, you’ll be fine.” Quite frankly, that’s not the truth. It takes an enormous amount of time in preparation to develop your presentation. It’s never perfect, therefore tweaks can always be made. If you make it look easy, you did a great job preparing. Remember, its not about you anymore, you represent something much bigger – your organization.

If you could ask Kevin Plank one question about your business, what would it be?
Reed Street Productions: Looking to sponsor?
Warwear: Ready to buy yet?

How are you going to use the $17,500 you won?
The money covered about a week’s worth of payroll for Reed Street Productions.

What is in the works for Reed Street Productions?
Things that will make heads turn. We are pretty secretive by nature, but I can promise no disappointments from the events that are forthcoming. In addition to five new events by 4th quarter 2013, we have begun diversifying and building on the relationships which we have established. Expect Reed Street Productions to become a top marketing firm within five years.

Ryan Hogan is a Managing Member of Reed Street Productions and a current student at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Ryan is also a Officer Candidate in the United States Army, in which he has been serving since 2002.
Learn more about Reed Street Productions at on the WebFacebook, and LinkedIn

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DCE: Land of Opportunities – A Guest Blog by Julie Mullins

When deciding on a business school, I knew I wanted one with an entrepreneurial spirit; a school that was active in not only teaching entrepreneurship, but living it. I chose the Smith School of Business because of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and sought out a student position there before even accepting my MBA offer. I felt the energy of innovation and execution and knew this Center could be a game changer in my life….and it has been!

My Advice: Get involved as early as possible. Students don’t realize what a valuable resource the Dingman Center can be for connections as well as insightful, fun, and practical experiences. Make time for it; trust me, it’s worth it!

The Dingman Center is filled with opportunities for student involvement, and of its many programs, I’ve been intimately involved with three: Dingman Center Angels, an angel investor network, China Business Plan Competition, and the Israel Global Technology Entrepreneurship Fellowship, an 8 week summer internship.

Dingman Center Angels
I sought out to be a part of the Dingman Center Angels for the interactions I’d have with both entrepreneurs and investors. I submerged myself in the process that the entrepreneurs take to mold their business plan and pitch, as well as the process the investors take to analyze the companies, provide feedback, and develop the terms of their investment. During my first year, I screened companies applying to the group. I attended Review Sessions and Investor Breakfasts where I was able to hear the investors provide questions and feedback to the entrepreneurs on their pitches and their businesses, guiding my thought processes in terms of analyzing entrepreneurial investments. During my second year as a GA, I learned to quickly assess a business, new product, pitch, etc. to identify the gaps in companies’ plans or strategies. This process helped me understand the entire startup Angel investment ecosystem and assess the investment potential of startups. The relationships I’ve made with the investors and entrepreneurs have also been a huge benefit for expanding my network and providing me access to some of the area’s most influential individuals in the entrepreneurship field.

China Business Plan Competition
The funny part about my participation in the China Business Plan Competition was that I accidentally joined the class. It was an early Friday morning when I was on my way to another Dingman event when someone pointed me in the direction of a nearby classroom. I realized I was in the wrong room, but was taken with the lecture on formulating business plans by a great professor named Dr. Bob Baum. I decided to immediately enroll in the class and what a GREAT decision it was! The China Business Plan is broken into two components: the class and competition/trip. The class gave me hands-on experience in creating a business plan, working with a cross-cultural team, and pitching a business idea to entrepreneurs and investors  for feedback. The execution of the entire trip by the Dingman Center was impeccable. We did a lot of sightseeing, but more importantly, we learned about the business environment. China is a high-growth market that is attractive to all international companies looking to expand; what everyone does not understand is the uniqueness of that market. This trip provided insights into the cultural norms, common practices, and challenges. I worked with classmates who quickly became some of my closest friends in the program, learned the ins and outs of writing a business plan and starting a business, worked on my public speaking skills by pitching in front of 100+ people, and had the perk of traveling to China while experiencing amazing food and tourist sites with fun people.

I quickly realized that every interaction I had with the Dingman Center was transformed to the words, “amazing experience”.

Israel Global Technology Entrepreneurship Fellowship
The Israel Fellowship was my next logical step, tying in my focus in entrepreneurship, products, marketing, and international interest. My time spent in Israel was definitely the best experience in my Smith career. Not only did I return to the U.S. with a desire to live in Israel, but I returned with new tools for my toolkit of starting a business and taking a new product to market. We learned the culture of Israel and why they’re #1 for startup creation. In partnership with the Technion (Israel’s MIT), we worked for 8 weeks on commercializing Technion-developed IP.  Our class was split into teams, made up of U.S. and Israeli MBAs, and we pitched our novel medical device technology to VCs and angel investors. We were critiqued on the aspects of the pitch and the business model components in order to continually improve. I learned about the intense market research and customer profiling behind commercializing an innovation and created a go-to-market strategy. As in China, we visited a wide variety of companies during our 8 weeks. The visits advanced our learning and understanding of local business practices while helping us make quality connections. There’s no lack of history in Israel and we got to sightsee in all the top locations including the Old City Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada, the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee.


All these experiences have equated to an enhancement in my entrepreneurial knowledge and connections. They are differentiators in my interviews and on my resume. The Israel Fellowship is highly memorable to recruiters and is an instant topic of conversation that sets me apart from the masses of students with more “traditional” internship experiences. The Dingman Center Angels has been a job experience that I flaunt on my resume. It is a GA like no other in the school since it provides a true work-like experience dealing with companies and investors in the community.

My experiences with the Dingman Center helped me learn how to think like an entrepreneur and an investor. They helped me shape my thought processes towards developing a strategy for a business or a product. They helped me learn from others’ mistakes and successes. My only regret is not having video-taped myself prior to being a part of The Dingman Center so that I could show those who hadn’t met me 2 years ago the transformation to what I’ve grown to be today.

Julie Mullins is an entrepreneur-at-heart, searching for the right idea. She spent five years in retail management prior to pursuing her MBA. She hopes to lead a career in marketing for consumer products after Smith. 

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