Worth Reading 4/18/14

This week at the Dingman Center we heard round one of the Fearless Founders‘ final presentations. The program guides student ventures from idea to launch using lean startup methodology. The final presentations showcase the customer discovery conducted throughout the course, how the student has pivoted to develop their MVP. At the upcoming Pitch Dingman Competition on May 1, Capitol One will announce those Fearless Founders who will receive $500 MVP Grants.
After seeing all these great student pitches, we’re certainly ending our week on a high note. Before heading out for the weekend, check out what’s Worth Reading:

  • In 2013, licensed products amounted for 110 billion in the US and Canada, but the licensing process is fairly complicated and often confusing. Read this article to grab five practical tips from a recent successful entrepreneur.
  • Household brands were built from a penny. Take a look at Enough Money To Start (infographic) and see how much it took to start an international brand.
  • The numbers of female entrepreneurs are rapidly increasing, but do you know which cities are ideal for them to thrive? Check out this article.
  • In Dingman Center, we teach college and graduate students how to become entrepreneurs. And today, more similar programs have been built, but the students are getting younger. Read Teaching Children How To Be Entrepreneurs and learn what students could have learned.
  • The World’s Top Ten Most Innovative Companies In Travel In 2014 were revealed. Check it out.

Stay connected with the Dingman Center 851582_417171855069447_55288290_n twitter-bird-white-on-blueFB-f-Logo__blue_1024  




MBA Students Work for Tipton Equity Partners in Venture Practicum Course

In this post on the Venture Practicum series, Dingman Center marketing graduate assistant Grant Lee interviews Aditya Dokania, a second-year MBA student focused on general management.

Grant Lee (GL): Hi Aditya. Good to see you. Why did you decide to participate in Venture Practicum?
Aditya Dokania (AD): I went to the Smith Experience information session to learn about the program and immediately gained interest.  Before coming to Smith, I had experience working in a startup in India and knew I wanted to work with startups in the United States.

GL: What startup are working with this semester?
AD: I am working for Tipton Equity Partners with Brian Banes. It is a private equity fund. Although my major is general management, I always wanted to utilize the resources that our school can offer for new venture finance and thought this would be a good opportunity.

GL: Tell me more about your project.
AD: My current project is to analyze the deals from last year. My goal is to understand the risk for the company and for the industry. I conduct data analysis that helps identify which startups to invest in the future and can also help us to understand how they get funded. I also write a biweekly newsletter.

GL: What do you want to achieve through this experience?
AD: The company’s goal is to improve communication and I can help to identify new targets for investment. Personally, I want to gain more insight about the private equity industry and to learn how people do research and identify targets. Back home in India, new venture financing is a relatively new field. I believe I can leverage this unique experience when I return to India.

GL: Do you think working at a startup will be unlike any other job you’ve had?
AD: Before my MBA, I worked as a consultant at Ernst and Young for more than two years. The scale was tremendously different. At Ernst and Young, it felt like there were thousands of other people there. At Tipton Equity, where there are around 6 or 7 people, I feel more valuable to the company.

GL: What skills or expertise do you offer to your startup?
AD: Research and industry analysis. My graduate assistantship experience has helped me a long way in doing research. I work in the Department of Decisions, Operations and Information Technology department here at the Smith School. My job is to do research on various subjects and prepare case studies for faculty members. I apply this experience to the projects that I am working on for Tipton Equity.

GL: How do you think the MBA program has helped you thus far?
AD: Coming from a consulting background, my goal after graduation is to go back to the consulting field in the US or India. A prestigious MBA will help me to move up the corporate ladder a bit faster. Moreover, the MBA has given me training in public speaking. I have had many opportunities to present on stage and that has helped me to improve my confidence and my communication abilities overall.

Aditya DokaniaDokania-23Aug12-11 (1)
Aditya spent two years in risk and assurance consulting prior to coming to the Smith School for his MBA. He focused on performing systems audits and identifying systemic weaknesses that may lead to leakage of financially significant information. While pursuing his MBA, he interned with the International Monetary Fund where he worked on enterprise architecture and roadmapping for the Information and Knowledge Management division.

Brian Banes
Brian spent three years in management consulting for financial services companies prior to his MBA. While pursuing his MBA, Brian has worked with a number of public and private investment firms. Post-MBA, he will be working in investment banking with a focus on healthcare.

Grant Lee
Grant Lee is a second year full-time MBA student focused on Marketing at Smith School of Business. Prior to Smith, he had four year experiences in retail marketing and sales management. He is passionate about sports, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is currently seeking career opportunities in sports and marketing management. To know more about him, check out his blog: mrgrantlee.com 

About Tipton Equity Partners 

logo small copy Tipton Equity Partners is a middle-market private equity firm investing in promising enterprises in the US and in select emerging markets globally. Tipton Equity Partners primarily focuses on investments in healthcare, software and business services.
Tipton’s principals are experienced investors and operators who contribute strategic insight and execution experience to new ventures and growth-stage companies, in addition to equity capital investment. Tipton’s portfolio companies and managed interests are spread throughout the United States and across international locations, from southern Europe to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Australia.


Dingman Research Seminar Series: Where Has The Gender Gap Been Closed?

Shweta Gaonkar
PhD candidate, Management and Organization department, Robert H. Smith School of Business

The surge of women into the workforce since the 20th century seems to have peaked out in the 21st century, with the percentage of women in the workforce well below the level of men. The recent book by Sheryl Sandburg “Lean In: Women, work and the will to Lead” has come under criticism due to the institutional constraint most women face while balancing work with personal life. Many are left to wonder, have women been able to close this gender gap at all?

Waverly Ding  Assistant Professor, Management & Organization

Waverly Ding
Assistant Professor, Management & Organization

The answer to this simple question is a little more complicated than it seems. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Professor Slaughter recently attributed her move to an academic positionto accommodate her personal commitments. Does this mean that academic positions allow women to dedicate more time to family life? Have women in academic career been able to close the gender gap? A recent study by a group of Smith School of Business faculty including Waverly Ding, Assistant Professor, Management & Organization, examined these questions among scientists and engineers.

The group found that among 50,000 PhD graduates in science and engineering, about 20% of women are in industry while 33% are in academic jobs. Clearly, highly qualified women in the workforce prefer academic job to one in the industry. Does this imply that Professor Slaughter’s argument about having more leisure time in academic career as compared to a job in the industry is true? To answer this question the authors dig deeper and list out the five key explanations of why a gender gap could exist. They then examine each one carefully:

1) Dual Career: Married women who are in the workforce along with their spouse have to navigate additional hurdles related to coordinating their career with that of their spouse. Men, with full time working spouse experience a decrease in earning by 7.4% and 6.6 % in academia and industry. While for women with full time working spouse, this effect is less dramatic; 3.2% and 0.5% in academia and industry. Hence, dual career is not a good explanation for the gender gap.

2) Baby penalty: One key argument of why the gender gap exists is that women take over most of the child rearing responsibilities and having a baby could lead to a negative impact on their career. Men in academia that have children experience increase in earnings. While women face a heavy penalty of 7.1% in academia and no penalty if they are working in the industry (-5.2%). So having children during academic career is detrimental for women’s earnings, while this has quite the opposite impact on women in industry. This implies that there is some underlying factor of women being in academia that they face a heavier penalty. The authors try to investigate what are these factors with the next three explanations of gender gap.

3) Pink Ghetto: Women choose low paying jobs to dedicate more time to personal life.  The authors do not find any support for the idea that women segregate themselves into lower paying jobs.

4) Good Ol Boys effect: This is the classic idea of gender gap where men are preferred in a workforce.  Women with a doctorate degree, face more institutional hurdles like tenure system rather than gender based discrimination.

5) Tenure system: Institutional differences between academic and industrial jobs. Unlike a job in a firm, academic jobs are dependent on research productivity. For women in academia with a work experience lasting 8 or more years having children creates the maximum penalty in earnings (-9.8%) as compared to a women with similar experience in the industry (-1%)

Reference: Waverly, D., Agarwal ,R., Ohyama, A., (2014). Where is the Promised Land? Gender Gap in Earnings of Scientists and Engineers in Academia and Industry. Working Paper.

About Shweta Gaonkar3dea3db
Shweta Gaonkar is a PhD candidate at Management and Organizations department at Robert H. Smith School of Business. Her research focuses on founders’ background and its implication on the formation of inter organizational networks. Website: https://sites.google.com/site/shwetagaonkar/

About Waverly Ding 24e65a4
Waverly Ding is an Assistant Professor of Management & Organization at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Dr. Ding earned her MBA and Ph.D. in business from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the Smith School faculty, she was an assistant professor at Haas School of Business, the University of California at Berkeley.
Dr. Ding’s research focuses on high-tech entrepreneurship and strategy, knowledge transfer between universities and industrial firms, and the U.S. biotech industry. She has also conducted research relating to labor force in science and technology. Her work has been published in Science, American Journal of Sociology, Management Science, Journal of Industrial Economics, and Research Policy.


Worth Reading 3/28/14

Cupid’s Cup, the nation’s toughest business competition, will take place one week from today at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. Are you ready?

Here’s what is worth reading this week.

Stay connected with the Dingman Center FB-f-Logo__blue_1024 twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Meet Fearless Founder Meir Snyder

The Fearless Founders program guides student ventures from idea to launch. By adopting the lean startup methodology, student entrepreneurs can learn the strategy, frameworks and tools necessary to develop their business idea.

There are 61 student entrepreneurs participating in the program. They are different in personalities, majors, and classes, but share one thing in common: fearless in pursuing their business ideas. We caught up with UMD undergraduate Meir Snyder to find out what it takes to be a Fearless Founder.

Grant Lee (GL): Hi Meir, nice to meet you. Tell me a little bit about yourself?
Meir Snyder (MS): I am a junior majoring in entrepreneurial operation. I came in majoring in government and quickly realized that I was fascinated with entrepreneurship. There wasn’t an entrepreneurship major at the time, so I created my own. I did a presentation to key staff members to show what classes I would like to take and how each class would relate to the major. I also had a faculty member as my mentor.

GL: Impressive! How did you get involved with the Dingman Center?
MS: During my freshman year, I was frustrated with my major. I knew political science was a great field to get into being so close to Washington D.C., but I wasn’t happy and I began to question myself. Do I like government? Is this what I want? Then I realized that I actually like coming up with new ideas more than anything. I applied for the Hinman CEOs program and didn’t get accepted. That did not stop me from wanting to get involved in the world of entrepreneurship so I came to the Dingman Center. I remember when I first came here, I came every Friday. I was constantly talking with Entrepreneurs-In-Residence and I learned a lot from them. 

GL: Yes I remember seeing you quite often on Fridays last semester. You are really engaged. Why did you decide to participate in the Fearless Founder Program?
MS: I spent the summer in an EMT program and got inspired after learning about the Emergency Medical Test. I came up with my idea for a learning platform and became very passionate about it. I heard about Fearless Founders and immediately applied. 

GL: Tell me more about your idea. What is the problem and your solution?
MS: My company is called MyLevelLearning. It is a platform that matches students and teachers based on their availability, teaching and learning styles, and preferences. The idea was inspired by taking the EMT exam. I spoke with colleagues and learned that the exam was very different than other tests. Your ability to do well on the exam heavily relies on the pairing system for teachers and students. I was fortunate enough to learn the information from my teacher to pass the exam. Others failed because their teachers did not prepare them as well.

The idea began to grow. I figured teachers and students should be paired based on their availability and style of learning and teaching. Much like, match.com. Imagine a class with 46 students interested in learning the subjects based on their interests. Then I went to seek out support from the Dingman Center. Dingman challenged me and asked me to speak with more people. It was at that moment that I realize maybe education reform isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Let’s just do it.

GL:  Looking forward, what is your goal for developing the idea?
MS: My goal is to develop a solid idea, craft my pitch, then build a website. At Terp Marketplace, I spoke with many potential customers. It helped me to validate my business idea because almost every person I spoke to could feel the pain of not getting the right teacher. Now I am working on the pilot test to get more data.

GL: What challenges have you encountered so far?
MS: Now I am crossing the gap between idea and application and I need partners to help me do that. I plan to add someone to my team who specializes in education technology to help my company  build credibility. I also need developers to help build the site.

GL: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from the Fearless Founders program?
MS: How to refine my business idea, learn from mistakes without feeling bad about myself, and how to move forward from those mistakes. Most importantly, I’ve learned that if you are going to fail, fail fast and not later.

GL: If you can use one word to describe entrepreneurship, what will it be?
MS: Diligence.

GL: How about one word for the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship?
MS: Supportive. The Dingman Center has helped me grow as an entrepreneur and as a person. They helped me understand the critical issues with my idea so I could develop a plan. It is not always easy to accept critical advice, especially for entrepreneurs, who usually take pride in their ideas. But, this has humbled me and helped me to grow.

GL: It was great to meet you Meir! Thank you for your time. I hope everything goes well for My Level Learning.
MS: You are welcome. Thank you for having me!

Meir SnyderMeir Snyder - professional pic
Meir Snyder is a junior at the University of Maryland. His current focuses are his startup “MyLevel” , his managerial responsibilities for the premier College Park hookah lounge “Cafe Hookah” and his volunteer work with America Reads and the PGFD. He can be contacted through linkedin @ linkedin.com/pub/meir-snyder

Grant Lee1512432_10100192309098222_25303874_n1
Grant Lee is a second year full-time MBA student focused on Marketing Strategy at Smith School of Business. Prior to MBA, he had four years of experience in retail marketing and advertising in Taiwan. During first year, he differentiated himself by participating in three business plan competitions and won top five in Wake Forest Retail Innovation Challenge. Now in his second year, he is dedicated to learning more about entrepreneurship by working as a Marketing Graduate Assistant for the Dingman Center, where he enjoys every moment of it. Grant shares his perspectives in his personal website mrgrantlee.com 

Introducing the 2014 Cupid’s Cup Finalists

Cupid’s Cup is only 10 days away! Six of the nation’s top student entrepreneurs will pitch Kevin Plank and a panel of celebrity entrepreneur judges for a chance at $115K in total prizes. More than 1,000 people will be in the audience on April 4 and attendees will be able to text-to-vote for their favorite student startup. Don’t miss it! Get a free ticket at http://www.cupidscup.com/.

Here are your 2014 Cupid’s Cup Finalists.
Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.38.19 PMFounder: Jason Gates
San Francisco, CA


IMAG4379Compology places sensors on dumpsters to track dumpster volume and reroute waste pickup to skip empty dumpsters. Compology improves hauler margins by 50% by reducing fuel costs and vehicle maintenance from inefficient routing and increasing crew utilization. The team believes “smart trash” can significantly reduce costs in the $68B waste industry. Jason is a 2011 graduate of the University of Maryland.




Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.38.26 PM

Founder: John Lewandowski
Boston, MA

IMAG4396Disease Diagnostic Group (DDG) has produced a rapid, accurate and inexpensive handheld device that can diagnose Malaria within one minute with one drop of blood, similar to a diabetes test. Existing alternatives include blood drops that must be tested in a lab and have slower turnaround and pregnancy-test like strips that are unreliable due to unstable storage conditions. John is a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.38.31 PM

Founder: James Li
Origin: Roslyn-Arlington, VA


IMAG4392Encore Alert monitors social media for mid-market brands and identifies the most important influencers and trending conversations. Brands are struggling to react to the large volume of social media data and rarely take action. Encore Alert automatically sends simple alerts to notify a brand of a high priority conversation (influential post, trending topic, PR risk) and provides recommendations to take action (retweet, write blog post, or respond). James is a 2013 graduate of Georgetown University.



Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.38.37 PM

Founder: Susan Thompson
Origin: Canton, MA

IMAG4390Kohana is developing a quiet, compact and discrete breast pump. Current breast pumps use loud, vacuum technology that force women to pump in isolation, often making it impossible for working mothers to keep up with demands of pumping and work. Kohana’s wearable compression technology simulates hand-expression instead of high-powered suction, allowing women to pump anytime and anywhere. Susan is a 2013 graduate of The Johns Hopkins University.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.38.42 PMFounder: Derrius Quarles
Origin: Louisville, KY



Million Dollar Scholar (MDS) is a web-based platform that provides curriculum and consulting/coaching services to students, parents and guidance counselors to help identify and win college scholarships. College students graduate with an average of more than $25K in debt. There is also a shortage of high school counselors, with the average counselor serving 450 students. MDS provides tools beyond other scholarship matching sites, such as essay editing, resume creation and interview assistance. Derrius is a 2013 graduate of Morehouse College.




LogoTransparentFounder: Chase Kaczmarek
Origin: College Park, MD

IMAG4377Wheel Shields are a longboarding accessory that improve safety, block mud and enable skaters to perform more advanced tricks.These metal hubcaps create a physical barrier between the wheel and the board, preventing the accidental braking that often throws skaters from their boards. Chase is a current undergraduate student at the University of Maryland.


For the latest news and updates, follow Dingman Center FB-f-Logo__blue_1024 twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Worth Reading 3/21/14


This week, UMD students are enjoying their Spring Break and the Dingman Center is on the countdown to Cupid’s Cup! Only 14 days left until Game Day. Have you reserved your ticket yet? Visit http://www.cupidscup.com to get a ticket while they last. Now, here’s what is worth reading.

Stay connected with the Dingman Center FB-f-Logo__blue_1024 twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Worth Reading 3/14/14


This week, the Dingman Center Angels held a March Madness-themed investor meeting full of Terp spirit. Congratulations to Entrepreneur-in-Residence Jason Shrensky who made it to the #1 spot on our bracket for knowing the most about the Dingman Center Angels! For more pictures from the event, check out the album on our Facebook page. Here’s what’s worth reading this week.

Stay connected with the Dingman Center FB-f-Logo__blue_1024 twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Entrepreneurship is…

According to St. Louis University, approximately 224 universities and colleges now offer an entrepreneurship major worldwide. At the Dingman Center, we discover, equip, connect and celebrate entrepreneurs through our various programs and initiatives. But, what do we mean when we use the word “entrepreneurship”? Does it mean starting a business? Developing technology? Innovating in the workplace? Last week, I asked our community to give us their take on entrepreneurship by finishing the sentence “Entrepreneurship is…”

Here are some of the responses I saw on the Dingman Center’s Faecbook page:

” Entrepreneurship is inborn, just find it in yourself!” - Reha Gupta

“Entrepreneurship is wild and a rollercoaster” - Danial Dadkhoo

“Entrepreneurship is creating happy and healthy places where humans can work and play together on a shared goal” - Miriam Lemus

“Entre (many), prenew (idea + infancy), ur ship (your personal journey). All together, entrepreneurship is utilizing your skills to turn many new ideas into reality.  Entrepreneurship is a journey that has no sail, but constant wind.” - Chris Lane

“Entrepreneurship is extreme focus and the opportunity to help change the world and give others jobs and opportunities.” - Danny Goldberg.

I asked our in-house entrepreneurship expert Elana Fine (@elanafine) who said “entrepreneurship is the path from uncertainty to certainty.” This is exactly what we teach the student entrepreneurs that spend sleepless nights in our bullpen. Start with an idea (uncertainty). Test the idea, do market research, get customer feedback, and maybe fail and start all over again. Once you’re convinced you have something worth pursuing (certainty), take the leap and DO IT! That journey is what we call entrepreneurship. What does entrepreneurship mean to you? Leave a comment and let us know.

Bennings-02Oct12-7_lr (1)Danielle Bennings (@dfbennings) is the Dingman Center’s Events and Marketing Coordinator, responsible for coordinating all Center events including Dingman Center Angels’ investor events, Pitch Dingman Competitions, Entrepreneurship Research Series, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and her favorite, Cupid’s Cup. Danielle also supports the marketing and outreach efforts of the center by contributing to the Center’s bi-weekly digest, The Pitch and the Dingman Center blog. Additionally, she manages the social media strategy. Danielle is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University. She received a B.A. in Political Science from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. 

Worth Reading 3/7/14

Our Graphic Design Intern, Hannah Shaw, working on the Cupid's Cup brochure.

Our Graphic Design Intern, Hannah Shaw, hard at work on Cupid’s Cup!

Today the Center For Social Value Creation held their signature event, the sixth annual Social Enterprise Symposium, attracting hundreds of attendees. In less than one month, it will be our turn! Register for Cupid’s Cup early to reserve your ticket at the nation’s toughest business competition.

Now, let’s check out this week’s Worth Reading:

Stay connected with the Dingman Center FB-f-Logo__blue_1024 twitter-bird-white-on-blue