Terp Toolkit: Build. Measure. Learn. Repeat. An Intro to the Lean Startup Methodology

Many startups fail because they spend a ton of time — months, even years — perfecting their leanstartupproduct or service before taking their business to market, without ever really seeking customer validation, only to find, their potential customers don’t see the value, leading to the company’s demise.

While this may seem a bit dramatic, this approach is all too familiar among entrepreneurs. Even if it’s not detrimental, it can significantly delay the success of startups. Over the years, the lean methodology, coined by Eric Ries and publicized in his book, “The Lean Startup,” has become popular among entrepreneurship circles. This method aims to reduce risk and help entrepreneurs pivot faster in the development of a new business idea, leading to maximum value for customers and higher return to founders.

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Alumni Entrepreneurship Panel & Networking Event for Smith MBA Students

Interested in hearing from successful entrepreneurs and investors from the greater DC area? Smith School of Business MBA students are encouraged to join the Dingman Center and Office of Career Services for an Alumni Entrepreneurship Panel this Wednesday evening, October 22 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Don’t miss the opportunity to network with Smith alumni who have started and invested in successful business ventures.

The all-star panel will include:

  • Jim Blakeslee, President & Founder, Geocentric
  • Wayne Kimmel, Managing Partner, Seventy Six Capital
  • Dave Morgan, VP & Partner, STS International
  • Carol, Politi, Chief Executive Officer, TRX systems
  • Ben Solomon, CEO and Co-founder, Hyperion Technologies LLC

This event is not only for MBAs planning to start their own business but also for those who are interested in entrepreneurship or innovation.

The panel will be held in Van Munching Hall, room 1418, followed by a networking mixer.

To RSVP please email Jeffrey L. Stoltzfus.


In case you missed it… What’s up at the Dingman Center?

Every two weeks, the Dingman Center distributes The Pitch, which highlights happenings in our community. In case you missed it, here’s a look at what’s up in entrepreneurship:

Dingman Speaker Series feat. Social Entrepreneur & VC Wayne Kimmel


Wayne Kimmel, ’92

On October 23rd, serial entrepreneur and UMD alumnus, Wayne Kimmel, ‘92, will join Dingman for the Center’s Speaker Series. Kimmel is the Founder and Managing Partner of SeventySix Capital.

A known entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist and tireless networker, some of Kimmel’s most successful investments include:

  • SeamlessWeb acquired by ARAMARK now public as GrubHub (NYSE:GRUB)
  • Take Care Health Systems acquired by Walgreens
  • NutriSystem (NASDAQ:NTRI) top performing stock in the U.S. for 5 consecutive years
  • Bread acquired by Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO)

During the event, Wayne will share his insights on entrepreneurship, networking and giving back. The program will take place from 12:30-1:30pm in 2333D Van Munching Hall. Lunch will be provided.

Click here to register.

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Announcing the Fall 2014 Idea Shell Cohort!

fearless founders stamp

The Dingman Center is excited to announced our Fall 2014 Idea Shell cohort. Idea Shell is the first stage in Dingman’s Fearless Founders accelerator program, which guides student venturesfrom idea to launch.

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Terp Spotlight on Route One Apparel


Ali Von Paris, Founder & CEO, Route One Apparel

During her junior year at UMD, Ali Von Paris was working at the popular restaurant and bar, The Thirsty Turtle. When the watering hole closed, Ali decided to design a t-shirt for her beloved co-workers as a tribute to the College Park institution. The shirts doned clever designs that read, “Turtle Survivor” and “Barely Remembered, Never Forgotten”.

Originally marketed toward employees, others started asked Ali where they could purchase their own Thirsty Turtle tee, and Route One Apparel was born.

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Entrepreneurship Professor Talks Innovation Opportunities in the Nation’s Capital

Recently, Jonathan Aberman, adjunct entrepreneurship professor in the MBA program and managing partner of Amplifier Ventures, was joined by Ed Bersoff, a veteran in federal contracting, on Federal News Radio to discuss the huge opportunity currently facing the nation’s capital: federal innovation and technology adoption.

aberman photo

With the vast amount of tech firms and high concentration of software engineers in DC, Aberman suggested that the DMV should be seen as a tech region that rivals (and in Aberman’s eyes, in many ways exceeds) Silicon Valley. This creates a unique opportunity for tech entrepreneurs given the industry’s juxtaposition to the federal government.

Aberman went further to discuss the significance of the federal government’s adoption of new technologies, and the huge opportunity for the region to be a national leader in tech innovation. While Silicon Valley is very well known for tech products, the DC-area is driven by tech services. Smart entrepreneurs and firms may consider investing in R&D and investing in the shifting trend toward national security innovation, cybersecurity and fed-tech entrepreneurship. Aberman’s latest venture, Tandem NSI aims to do just that: accelerate growth of technology entrepreneurs and link them with the government.

Listen here for the full interview with Tom Temin.

If you’re interested in learning more about tech innovation and the government, be sure to check out Aberman’s latest white paper: Building a Bigger Tent for Technology Innovators: The Government Is More Creative than You Think.

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What’s up at the Dingman Center?

Every two weeks, the Dingman Center distributes “The Pitch”, a bi-weekly digest that highlights happenings in our community. In case you missed it, here’s a look at what’s up in entrepreneurship:

Dingman Center Goes to London for Global Entrepreneurship Conference, and is Honored for Entrepreneurship Excellence

GCEC awardLast week, Dingman Center Managing Director Elana Fine and Associate Director Holly DeArmond traveled to London to attend the annual Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers Conference. GCEC is the largest annual gathering of entrepreneurship centers in the world and this year’s conference was hosted by the University College London from October 2-4, 2014. Elana was joined by G ‘Anand’ Anandalingam, Dean of the Imperial College Business School; Robert Rosenberg of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; and Erin Draper from Clarkson University for a workshop titled, “Nurturing Enterprises or Entrepreneurs?”

During the conference, the Dingman Center also received the 2014 NASDAQ Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.

Elana Fine accepted the award and had this to say: 
We are honored to be recognized by our peer entrepreneurship centers from around the world. Over the past several years, the Dingman Center has differentiated itself by offering a breadth of campus, regional, national and international programs. We pride ourselves on the impact these programs are making on our students and community and will continue to set a high bar for student entrepreneurship.

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What it Takes to be a Fearless Founder: EIRs Chat with Hatch Class

While Elana Fine is in London facilitating a workshop during the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers Conference (GCEC 2014), Entrepreneurs in Residence Jason Shrensky and Harry Geller served as guest lecturers during the Fearless Founders Hatch class this past Monday. The two offered valuable advice for the Fearless Founders Hatch cohort, touching on their own personal experiences as entrepreneurs. Keep reading for an overview of the two-part lecture from this week’s class.

Jason Shrensky

Jason Shrensky


Harry Geller



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Introducing the Terp Toolkit and the Business Model Canvas

Everyday at the Dingman Center, students drop by, or send us emails, with questions on how to get started with their entrepreneurial ideas. We love connecting with UMD students and continuously look for new ways to support your fearless ventures!

As an additional resource to our future Fearless Founders, we are launching the Terp Toolkit. In this series of blog posts, we’ll provide regular updates with practical tips for folks interested in entrepreneurship.

Now, let’s get started…

Long gone are the days of the traditional business plan. With the influence of the lean startup methodology and the business model generation, entrepreneurs are turning to the business model canvas to develop, iterate and launch their businesses or innovate within existing organizations.


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Fearless Founder of Puzzable featured in Huffington Post

Ghedalia Gold-Pastor, an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland and one of the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders, was recently featured in the Huffington Post for his innovative and socially minded startup, Puzzable.puzzable.org:

While brainstorming one day, Ghedalia and his college roommate decided to channel their extra energy beyond the basketball court and start their own gaming startup. Their app, Puzzable, is a social gaming meets SnapChat concept that also empowers charities.

The grandson of a holocaust survivor, Ghedalia has a unique perspective on perseverance and brings this spirit in his approach to entrepreneurship. In the article he says, “There will be plenty of distractions and disappointments throughout the journey but as long as you maintain focus and continue to push forward you will reach your goals.”

Ghedalia is no stranger to hard work. After bootstrapping his company, he began seeking funding and secured an additional $2,000 from the Dingman Center. He is currently seeking an additional $250,000 to further grow Puzzable.

Click here to read more about Ghedalia’s entrepreneurship journey in the Huffington Post.


Interested in learning more about happenings at the Dingman Center and in the DC entrepreneurship ecosystem?

Sign up for the Dingman Center’s bi-weekly e-newsletter, The Pitch.