Terp Toolkit: Incorporating Social Impact into Your Business Model

by: Sara Herald

Social impact, long considered to be the exclusive territory of nonprofits, is becoming an integral part of for-profit businesses across the globe.  From huge corporations like Unilever to local startups like Misfit Juicery, generating both profits and social good is gaining acceptance as good business practice.

This shift isn’t necessarily based in moral arguments such as “it’s the right thing to do”, but rather in solid business fundamentals: that’s what customers want.  As more and more Millennials enter adulthood, they want to start up, work at, and buy from companies working to achieve social good.  84% of Millennials “consider a company’s involvement in social causes in deciding what to buy or where to shop” and they report “increased trust (91%) and loyalty (89%) in…companies that support solutions to specific social issues.”

If Millennials expect companies they engage with to have more than one bottom line, how can aspiring entrepreneurs of all kinds deliver on those expectations? The key lies in moving from a donations mindset to an operations mindset.
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6 things we learned at Do Good Challenge Finals

By: Megan McPherson

The positive energy at last night’s Do Good Challenge was palpable. From the showcase to the finalist pitches to the panel of past Do Good competitors, it was clear that every person  there was united by a passion for driving social change. Do Good delivered not only excellent pitches but also an informative platform for discussing the unique challenges and rewards of social entrepreneurship. Here are some takeaways:

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6 finalists remain after the Do Good Challenge Semifinals

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By: Megan McPherson

The small classroom setting of the Do Good Challenge Semifinals felt intimate and understated, but the passion of each student shined just as brightly in that classroom as it may have on some grand stage. As each team pitched their eight weeks of social impact to the judges panel, I tried in vain to capture the morning’s energy with numerous photographs and tweets.

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A Look Back at the 2016 Cupid’s Cup

By: Justin Taubman ’16 MBA Candidate

On Thursday, April 7th, Kevin Plank ’96, Founder and CEO of Under Armour, returned to the University of Maryland to host the 11th annual Cupid’s Cup Entrepreneurship Competition. This was my second time attending the event and Mr. Plank continues to outdo himself by bringing in celebrity judges like Dan Gilbert, Wes Moore, and Arianna Huffington to evaluate the exceptional pitches of six finalists. The finalists emerged from a pool of over 500 applicants representing over 100 schools and made it through several rounds of screening to the main event where they competed for $100,000 in cash prizes.

The event started at 2:00 p.m. in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center with a Startup Showcase of UMD’s top student entrepreneurs and their businesses. Among the startups in the showcase were many of the finalists from the Pitch Dingman Competition such as uBoard and WeCook as well as many other friends of the Dingman Center like Spot This and Meta Cartel

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After touring all the booths, I ended up throwing on a Spot This t-shirt and joining my classmates to help collect email addresses to invite users to join their beta. The crowd was very curious about their product and happy to get involved in the testing. The energy and excitement in the atmosphere was palpable, but this was just an appetizer leading up to the main event that would start at 4:00 p.m.

The show kicked off with the professional MC Christian Crosby, Live Events Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers who introduced Plank to the crowd of over a thousand. Mr. Plank recounted his days at the University of Maryland as a student athlete and his rose delivery business that helped him raise the seed money to start Under Armour after graduating. After introducing the judges, the competition began.

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Kevin Plank ’96 introducing judges

The competition was comprised of six finalists, all with incredibly unique businesses that were all generating substantial revenue. Headbands of Hope kicked things off by pitching their stylish headband company with a social angle to help children with cancer. Then the University of Maryland’s own Javazen got the hometown crowd fired up in their presentation. The unique box membership company MyBestBox did an impressive job explaining how their customized boxes can help customers live more healthy lives. The youngest entrepreneur in the finals was the founder of Plova Chewing Gum, who introduced us to the world’s first beneficial oral care product in the form of gum. The founder of Six Foods had an infectious energy that got Kevin Plank to eat her Chirp Chips, tortilla chips made with crickets. The last pitch was by Wolf & Shepherd the sleek dress shoe company with the technology of running shoes.

The judges certainly had their work cut out for them. Ultimately there could only be one winner of the Cup. After much deliberation the judges emerged from backstage and handed out some impressive $5,000 consolation prizes to Plova and MyBestBox. SixFoods was awarded $25,000 for second-place. The first-place prize of $75,000, their name on the Cup, and access to Kevin Plank’s network was awarded to our very own Javazen! We are all very proud of Ryan, Eric, and Aaron at the Dingman Center and hope that their success continues and also that it inspires other student entrepreneurs at University of Maryland.

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A Preview of the Cupid’s Cup Startup Showcase

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Cupid’s Cup is tomorrow, and we’re all excited to watch UMD and Terp Startup alum Javazen compete for the prize of $100,000. But before the main event starts at 4 p.m., there is a wonderful opportunity to see some rising stars of the UMD startup community at the Cupid’s Cup Showcase at 2 p.m. Who knows, one day they may be competing in Cupid’s Cup themselves. Here’s a sneak peek of the impressive startups and their founders you can expect to see there:

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An open letter to aspiring female entrepreneurs

By: Julia Klein

Have you ever identified a problem and thought to yourself, “Someone should invent something that solves this?” Have you ever thought to yourself, “I have a better way of doing this?”

If you answered yes, you may not have realized it at the time, but you were thinking like an entrepreneur. Maybe you seized the moment and brought your idea to life but, more likely, you made an excuse for why being an entrepreneur wasn’t right for you. I know this because, before taking the leap and starting my business, I navigated through miles of these same excuses.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common objections raised by potential female founders:

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Female Fearless Founders Featurette

In honor of Smith Women’s Week, we would like to highlight some recent past and present female participants of our Fearless Founders student accelerator program. We are immensely proud to have worked with these young women and to have been given the opportunity to help them grow their startups.

 

East Habesha – Saron Asfaw
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Saron Asfaw ’18 started East Habesha in our Idea Shell stage, where she won a $500 MVP grant from Capital One to build her startup. She is currently working on further improving her business as a member of the Spring 2016 Hatch cohort. East Habesha is a website that sells custom Ethiopian dresses and food spices to customers in the DC metropolitan area. There is a large population of Ethiopians in the DC metropolitan area and there are many vendors that supply these necessities. What differentiates East Habesha from its competitors is that the prices are low but the quality is high. We look forward to seeing East Habesha grow as it continues to gain traction in the community.

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Great startups that are solving the world’s most pressing social issues

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By Adriana Kao, MBA 2016, CellShare team

After the nerves have settled, the Hult Prize, the world’s largest student competition to solve the world’s toughest challenges, has its finalist teams. These finalists came out of the five regional finals held in Boston, San Francisco, Dubai, Shanghai and London on March 12, 2016.  The UMD team, comprised of two grad students, an undergraduate student and an alum, competed in and experienced the regional competition held in Boston.  Although the UMD team did not go through to the next stage of the competition, it was a terrific experience, in terms of exposure, professional and personal learning experience.

The Hult Prize held in Boston, hosted at the Hult International Business School, was fast-paced and dynamic.  There were 58 teams that descended on Boston, from Colombia to France, from India to Nigeria. All sorts of schools were represented and the make-up of teams were as diverse as can be; there were engineers, architects, entrepreneurs, food scientists, bankers, social workers and of course, plenty of business students. It was humbling to be part of such an amazing congregation of people, with such diverse talent and experiences, and all united with the vision to help alleviate poverty in the world’s urban crowded areas.

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Would you choose a cushy Wall Street job or $1M to help solve a global social problem?

The Dingman Center co-sponsored several students that are attending the 2016 Hult Prize regional finals competition in Boston this week. Look forward to more blog posts from attendees.

By Adriana Kao, MBA 2016, CellShare team

The title question was the road in the fork that many Hult Prize participants had to face at some point in their journey. The Hult Prize, created in 2009, is a global case competition that challenges students around the world to develop innovative social enterprise solutions for the most pressing global problems, including provision of clean water, addressing the food crisis, and improving childhood education. The winning team receives $1M in seed funding and continued mentorship to launch their social enterprise idea. Sounds pretty neat, doesn’t it?  All there is standing in the way between your brilliant idea and $1M are 5000 teams from all around the world with equally brilliant ideas.

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ANNOUNCING THE SPRING 2016 HATCH COHORT

By: Justin Taubman ’16 MBA Candidate

Each semester, students from across campus participate in the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders program. The program consists of three stages: Idea Shell, Hatch and Terp Startup. True to the name of each stage, the Fearless Founders program guides student ventures from idea to launch.

This spring, 19 students were selected to participate in Hatch program, where they will build and test their business ideas using the Lean Launchpad methodology. Once the course has been completed, students will be eligible for up to $1,500 in seed funding provided by Capital One. 

What kinds of ventures can we expect from this year’s cohort? Here are “elevator pitches” from two student entrepreneurs:

Vendoo

Venture: Vendoo

Founder: Thomas Rivas-Siles

Vendoo is an app that is focused solely on the seller side of an e-commerce transaction. It will save the seller time by posting on different marketplaces and being able to control all the listings from our app. Apart from saving time, we increase the probability of a sale by recommending marketplaces relevant to the item being posted based on its information. It is the one-stop app for sellers.

Venture: Kanvasroom

Founder: Aaron Pludwinski

Kanvasroom’s mission is to connect creative professionals around the world and give them the tools to create projects anywhere remotely. Members create multimedia portfolios that showcase their work to the creative industry. Top creative companies, recruiters, organizations, and more — come to Kanvasroom to see the incredible work and find talent to hire. Once hired, creatives can collaborate on projects using real-time video conferencing, sketching, brainstorming, payment tool and so much more all in one online workspaKRce. By creating an environment that allows creative teams to discover, hire, and collaborate, Kanvasroom has provided the most convenient and cost-effective method to outsource creative work, get hired, and create amazing projects.

Below is a complete list of the spring Hatch cohort and their ventures. For more information on the Fearless Founders program and how to apply, please click here.

Abb Kappoor & David Potter: Curu

Matthew Ernst: Homeless No More

Sumanth Jinagouda: Spot This

Victoria Tataw: Nails By Tataw

Thomas Rivas-Siles: Vendoo

Oru Wonodi: NOVA Prints & Apparel

Bret Caples: Campfire Marketing

Jamie Thompson: The Pregame Ritual

Shyon Parsadoust: Roll-A-Wire

Jacob Orbach: Trek

Aaron Pludwinski: Kanvasroom

Carlouie Nievera: Carlouie & Company

Dustin Ecton: Taptime TV

Saran Asfaw: East Habesha

Pablo Jodar: Paella Chef

Philemon Mastewal: Q

Louis-Philippe Jacobe de Naurois & Davit Sargsyan: Alma Sangría