Terp Startup K. Sultana Creates Breathable Head Scarves For Muslim Women

Omar Goheer is on a mission to change the way Muslim women feel in a head scarf. His company, K.Sultana, was founded to solve the prevalent problem of discomfort from hot temperatures experienced by Muslim woman who wear the head scarf. These innovative scarves ventilate and provide comfort over the head and around the neck through the use of a unique blend of breathable and lightweight fabrics. The K. Sultana scarf can be worn over the head by women who wear the hijab or it can be used as the perfect fashion accessory for women who choose to not wear the hijab. K. Sultana also has a social impact component to the business, partnering with local homeless shelters to allow battered and abused Muslim women help sell the scarves in exchange for a sales commission.

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Powering Women Entrepreneurs

By Elana Fine

Last Saturday I moderated a “Powering Women Entrepreneurs” panel at Forte Foundation’s annual MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. Over 450 current women MBA students from top business schools filled the conference hall wearing “Let’s Power Up” t-shirts while taking selfies with cutouts of powerful women leaders such as Smith School alumna Carly Fiorina, Oprah Winfrey, and Sheryl Sandberg.

The panel included three successful women entrepreneurs:

Tiffany Norwood, Serial Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur in Residence, Georgetown University

Arum Kang, Co-Founder and CEO Coffee Meets Bagel

Hillary Lewis, Founder and President, Lumi Organics

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L-R: Elana Fine, Tiffany Norwood, Arum Kang, Hillary Lewis

I quickly realized what an opportunity our panel had to inspire such a large crowd of impressive women at such an important inflection point in their careers.  As I told the crowd, my goal was for each of them to consider one entrepreneurial experience during their two years as MBA students. Continue reading

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Terp Startup Javazen Is Putting a Healthy Twist On Your Morning Coffee

What comes to mind when you hear “the Arnold Palmer of coffee?” In the D.C. area, many people think Javazen.

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According to the company website, Javazen is organic coffee combined with premium teas and nutritious “superfoods,” including cacao and goji berries. Aaron Wallach, Eric Golman and Ryan Scheuler started the company in their college apartment while attending the University of Maryland. After recently graduating from UMD and making their first sales, the team decided to run Javazen full-time. Continue reading

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Keep Up With The Dingman Center This Summer

Did you think the Dingman Center was taking a break this summer? Think again! Although we’re not having weekly Pitch Dingman sessions or monthly Dingman Center Angels investor meetings, there are a number of ways you can stay engaged with us this summer.

1. Attend a FREE startup workshop.

One of the biggest perks of being in the Terp Startup summer incubator program is that students have access to workshops from leading experts. Since not all of the entrepreneurs in our network could join Terp Startup, many of these workshops will be open to the public! Join us for sessions on a wide range of topics including Growing Beyond Product #1, Customer Relationship Management, Sources of Funding and Accounting Needs. A full listing of all open workshops are available on the Terp Startup page on our website.

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2. Sign-up to receive The Pitch!

The Pitch is a bi-weekly email digest that will keep you informed on what’s happening in our community. It includes regional events, job postings, updates on our portfolio companies and student startups, as well as recent news from inside the Dingman Center. If you don’t already receive The Pitch, join our mailing list.

@UMD_Dingman3. Tweet, tweet, tweet.

The best place to get real-time updates from the Dingman Center is through our Twitter feed. Don’t miss a shout out, behind the scenes picture or #tbt post!

4. Network with us

Our involvement in the regional startup community doesn’t stop just because it’s summer. You can see our staff out at various events in D.C. and Baltimore. This weekend, Managing Director Elana Fine will moderate a panel on MBA Women Entrepreneurs at the  2015 Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. Our Fearless Founders will be out at various tech meetups too. We look forward to seeing you out and about.

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Fearless Founders Confessions: Fei Mancho, Fancy Muffin

The Fearless Founders Confessions video series was created to give our community brief glimpses into the lives of student entrepreneurs. This video features Fei Mancho, founder of Fancy Muffin, an online store that specializes in eco-friendly, handmade tie-dye garments. Fei completed the Idea Shell stage of Fearless Founders this past spring semester and was awarded a $500 Capital One MVP Grant for her commitment to the customer discovery process. Watch the video below to meet this tie-dye fanatic turned entrepreneur.

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Communicating Your Business

the companies that win are the ones that

Are you able to easily communicate your business to potential customers, advisors or investors? The best place to start is with a solid elevator pitch. Begin with the problem, simply explain your unique solution and how you can do it better, faster and cheaper than your competitors. Do it in under one minute and you’ll keep their attention.

Our Terp Startup companies know this all too well, having completed many customer interviews to get to this stage in their businesses. Check out their brief elevator pitches on the Terp Startup page on our website. Are they easy to understand? Can you instantly tell what the mission of the company is? Provide any advice or feedback in the comments below!

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Top 5 Highlights from AdVENTURE Challenge: China

By: Justin Taubman

I am home in Washington, D.C. and I am sifting through hundreds of photos and reflecting on tons of experiences as I prepare to move to Boston for my internship. I think it would be useful to list my five favorite parts of the program now that it is over.

  1. Customer Discovery in China

Each of us had been working on our business plans since the course began in April. We had been asking Chinese students at Maryland about our concepts, and while it was useful, nothing was as helpful as talking to our target customers when we were actually in China. We learned so much about customer pain points and the nuances about doing business in China compared to other Western countries. This was invaluable for launching our business in China.

  1. shnaghai dumplingsShanghai Dumplings

Several us arrived to Shanghai a few days before the program began, so that we could get to see some more of the city. We decided to venture into a very local part of town for lunch to get the famous Yang’s Dumplings. I had never tried these types of dumplings before. They were different from the dumplings that I had before because they were filled with a slightly sweet tasting hot soup. So you took a little nibble out of the side of the dumpling and sucked the soup out and then ate the rest of the dumpling. They were DELICIOUS! They have ruined dumplings in the States for me.

  1. Traditional Chinese Banquet Style Dinner

Our group experienced its first traditional banquet style dinner in Bengbu, where we dined with city officials, local businessmen, and students from the local university. We were considered guests in this dinner and therefore we were toasted many times by our hosts. The toasts would consist of a short speech and then the word, “ganbei” (literally meaning “dry glasses”). Our hosts usually toasted with a rice wine alcohol, such as maotai in a small glass. The toasts were repeated at least a dozen times throughout the meal and everyone got pretty “loose” as a result. Lets just say I mustered up enough courage to try snapping turtle after a few toasts.

  1. Lisa: Our Beijing Tour Guide

The tour guides we had in each city were fantastic, but our guide in Beijing was outstanding. Lisa was extremely knowledgeable about the city that she grew up in and about the history of her country and culture. Among many sites, Lisa brought us to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City where she taught us about the lives of the many emperors that resided in the ancient city. Lisa also arranged a rickshaw tour of where the “common people” resided during ancient times. The Forbidden City was forbidden to these “common people”, so it was very cool to get the perspective of how the two sides lived. As an example of how Lisa went above and beyond the scope of her job, she arranged for many of us to get professional massages in our rooms after long days of touring. We will all miss Lisa!

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  1. Learning to Make Dumplings

After a long day of climbing the Great Wall and touring the common people’s neighborhood, our final meal kicked off on a beautiful rooftop where we were taught how to make steamed dumplings. We surprised ourselves at how well they turned out. Chinese people make dumplings from scratch for special occasions, like the Chinese New Year. This seemed like a fun tradition and it was a ton of fun to learn. It was a wonderful final meal with the group.

I will miss China, our group, and the program!

Taubman-J-19Aug14-1Justin Taubman is a first year MBA candidate at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. After receiving his undergraduate degree in International Relations from Trinity College in Connecticut, Justin worked at the US Department of Homeland Security for seven years. He was focused on innovative security and customer service solutions for aviation security. Justin resigned as Program Manager of Passenger Innovation to return to school, where he is focused on Entrepreneurial Finance. Justin serves as the President of the Entrepreneurship Club and will be helping out at an e-commerce start-up this summer, called FoodBAM in Boston, Massachusetts. 

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Reflecting on China Following the Adventure Challenge

By Justin Gordon

Dalian, Chian

Dalian, China

 

In 1985 at 60 years old my Grandmother decided to move to China to teach English. While she spent most of her six months in the country teaching in the city of Dalian located on the east side of the Yellow Sea, she did have a chance to travel throughout.  When she left, she even took a train from Beijing to West Berlin. I was only three years old at the time, but over the course of the last 30 years she has described her experiences in vivid detail a bit at a time. The China she knew was only about a decade past the turbulent “Cultural Revolution” period. She described streets filled with far more bicycles than cars. English speakers were difficult to find, even in large cities. Telephones capable of calling back to the U.S. were few and the cost was substantial. The primary means by which she communicated with my grandfather was by mail; letters could take up to weeks to arrive. Her depiction is of a country rich in culture and history, as well as one with a great deal of possibility, but a nation with a long way to go to realize it’s full potential. Continue reading

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Winning the China Business Model Competition

By: Tiffany Chang

L-R: Prerana Delal, Tiffany Chang, Justin Taubman, Shuichi Manabe, Brent Goldfarb

L-R: Prerana Delal, Tiffany Chang, Justin Taubman, Shuichi Manabe, Brent Goldfarb

I can’t believe the competition is already over and our trip to China is winding to an end…but another thing I’m still trying to wrap my head around is WINNING FIRST PLACE!!

My team and our business idea, Style Star, a personal stylist mobile app, took first place among some truly excellent competing models, and the Smith School once again is coming home with such great honor and such excitement to actually put our $3,000 prize money to good use in launching our app development. Terps also took 2nd place and an assortment of individual awards. Continue reading

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Entrepreneurship in China is on Fire

By: Justin Taubman 

After meeting with many successful entrepreneurs at some of China’s top start-up incubators and accelerators in Shanghai, it is clear that China is getting serious about entrepreneurship. Until recently, Chinese families have not been very supportive of their children leaving secure jobs to pursue entrepreneurial ventures. The most educated and wealthy families have always pushed their children towards traditional businesses, but that is starting to change. The Chinese government has realized the importance of innovation and the creation of new businesses and technology. While traditional careers in industries like finance, engineering, or medicine are still pursued by many, the government support of these initiatives has made entrepreneurial pursuits more accepted. Continue reading

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