Each semester, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship runs a 6-week long program called Idea Shell, the first phase of our Fearless Founders Accelerator. Using lean startup methodology, students are encouraged to perform numerous customer interviews and continuously pivot on their idea as they work toward launching their startup.
This fall saw two major changes to the Idea Shell formula. The first was the addition of new our two-day idea festival, spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start, the weekend prior to the first Idea Shell workshop on October 12. Of the students currently enrolled in Idea Shell, 25% came to spark and left with an idea for a problem they wanted to solve. The second major change is the input of our new Student & Venture Program Manager, Chris Rehkamp, who debuted as the instructor of Terp Startup this summer and has been a welcoming fixture at Dingman Fridays this fall.
As the new Idea Shell instructor, Chris is passionate about cultivating this cohort’s diverse
range of ideas. “The diversity of students is really exciting. We have people from different backgrounds and programs—from undergrads to PhDs from all different colleges. The diversity reflects in their potential impact as well,” said Chris. Speaking of impact, there are a number of budding social entrepreneurs in this cohort. Several have ideas to help improve education and career opportunities for young people. Fiona Whitefield, an attendee of spark, is working to create a microfinance platform that will help people make meaningful connections with people living in poverty, giving them an opportunity to see how their contributions have made a difference. Idea Shell is seeing promising tech innovations as well—PhD student Bohan Wang is working on a means to interface all your electronic devices with your home, creating an efficient “smart home” environment.
Without further ado, here is a definitive list of all the budding entrepreneurs and changemakers in the Fall 2016 Idea Shell Cohort:
Mervin Keith Cuadera
We are looking forward to seeing how each student’s idea progresses, and hope to see them all advance to the second stage of the Fearless Founders Accelerator in our Spring 2016 Hatch class. Let’s keep this entrepreneurship community at UMD thriving!