Tag 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 Role Models at the Third Annual Ladies First Fall Dinner

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by: Megan McPherson, Events & Marketing Manager

The Ladies First Fall Dinner is the flagship event of the Dingman Center’s Ladies First initiative to expose more female students at University of Maryland to entrepreneurship. Each year, it attracts young women from all across campus for an evening where they can explore the unique challenges and strengths shared by women as they look to launch companies or lead them post-graduation. The third annual Ladies First Fall Dinner on November 1 in Van Munching Hall focused on “role models”, introducing a room comprised solely of female undergraduate students to two inspirational female founders in the cosmetics industry: alumna and serial entrepreneur Mary Schulman ’97, co-founder of PYT Beauty; and current student Brianna Queen ’19, founder of BEEQBOX and second place winner of the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition. In a fireside chat moderated by associate director and Ladies First leader Sara Herald, MBA ’11, Brianna and Mary shared their inspiring founder stories and imparted valuable wisdom to 65 student attendees. Below are some of the recurring themes that both entrepreneurs touched upon during the discussion.

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Reflecting on the Ladies First: Dolphin Tank with Springboard Enterprises

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by: Karolyn Maynard MBA ’18

On Tuesday, April 3, Springboard Enterprises brought Dolphin Tank to the University of Maryland, in collaboration with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s ‘Ladies First’ initiative. The Ladies First initiative is a commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland.

Now, as a self-professed ‘Shark Tank’ lover, I truly love learning about entrepreneurs’ ventures and hearing the critical feedback from the ‘sharks’ across market size, valuation and true opportunity for growth. In fact, after continued viewing, I found myself often adopting the role of an investor, asking the questions from the comfort of my living room and feeling quite good about anticipating the concerns or questions that an investor might have.

That’s my version of a fun night sometimes; What can I say? I love entrepreneurship in all forms.

So when I heard Springboard Enterprises was bringing Dolphin Tank to campus, I, naturally, jumped at the chance to swim with the sharks – or dolphins.

Springboard Enterprises describes Dolphin Tank as “helpful feedback-driven pitch sessions for entrepreneurs to receive constructive insights from knowledgeable professionals. Dolphin Tanks aren’t about sharks, piranhas, dragons, or competing for the best idea – they’re about channeling the expertise of the people in the room. The Dolphin Tank is an interactive discussion led by an expert panel that focuses on one thing: “How can we help?” 

After attending my very first Dolphin Tank, I was impressed with the willingness of the attendees in the room to not only provide constructive feedback, but to provide connections also.

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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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Reflections on the 2nd Annual Ladies First Fall Dinner

by: Karolyn Maynard MBA ’18

Ladies First is the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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Sara Herald, Associate Director of Social Entrepreneurship began the Ladies First dinner with these words.  The theme of the evening—‘Purpose’ and an avenue to achieving that purpose—Social Entrepreneurship.

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Reflections from the Ladies First Kickoff Dinner

This post is part of a blog series for the launch of Ladies First, the Dingman Center’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.

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by: Nina Silverstein MBA ’17

Last week the Ladies First Kickoff Dinner brought together over 85 current and aspiring female changemakers at the University of Maryland. Ladies First is an initiative to get more women involved in entrepreneurship by creating and empowering a community of changemakers across campus. I was inspired to see so many young women in attendance to hear impactful stories and insights from the panelists.

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