Category Archives: Ladies First

Get to Know the Dingman Center: Sara Herald

This summer we will be featuring our current Dingman Center staff in a special blog series. Read along and get to know a little more about each member of our team!

SaraHerald-6

Sara Herald, Associate Director for Social Entrepreneurship

Sara Herald came to the Dingman Center from the Center for Social Value Creation in January 2016, bringing social entrepreneurship along with her. Since her arrival, the Dingman Center has sought to create a welcome space for students interested in leveraging venture creation for social impact. She has challenged us to reframe our concept of “entrepreneurship” to be inclusive of students who don’t self-label as “entrepreneur”, and might prefer the term “changemaker” or “problem-solver” instead. Through her landmark Ladies First initiative, we are seeing more female students than ever exploring entrepreneurial pathways at University of Maryland. Sara’s progressive attitude toward entrepreneurship and its role in building a better world are inspiring to both staff and students.

Continue reading

Ladies First Profile: The Story Behind 2B

This story is part of a blog series for the launch of Ladies First, the Dingman Center’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.

By: Nina Silverstein

I began every year of my teaching tenure in Baltimore by asking my students what they wanted to be when they grew up. My kindergarten and first grade students were eager to announce that they were going to be a teacher or a police officer or a football player. A select few said they wanted to be doctors or firefighters. I noticed that when I called my students “Dr. Demetira” or “Police Officer Denard”, their interest and engagement in their schoolwork peaked. Additionally, when my school held a career day, I again saw the level of engagement in school peak. It was as if the students saw the possibilities of future endeavors appear before them and helped them realize why school was important to achieving that.

2B colors.pngThat was when the idea for 2B emerged. 2B is a mission-driven clothing company aimed at expanding children’s horizons and helping them to envision themselves as a variety of different occupations when they grow up. 2B seeks to help students learn about different careers by providing books and clothing centered around each occupation, which helps to provide reasoning for why school is an important factor to their future success. We aim to make the connection between hard work in school and future attainment of their dreams. In order to ensure that all children benefit from envisioning their dreams, 2B will be donated to under-resourced schools so that every child, regardless of background, has the same access to opportunity and the same ability to envision themselves as anything they want to be when they grow up.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Ladies First Profile: Shizu Okusa of JRINK

As part of the Dingman Center’s involvement in Women’s Month at Smith, this post profiles Shizu Okusa, a local founder who will be participating in our Ladies First: Becoming a Savvy Startup Investor workshop on March 10th.

by: Nina Silverstein MBA ’17

Shizu Okuza - Head shotShizu Okusa’s entrepreneurial journey has not been a lateral one, but rather a circuitous culmination of experiences that led her to co-found JRINK, a “fresh-pressed solution for life-pressed people.” The no-sugar added, preservative-free, cold-pressed juices are locally produced in Falls Church, Virginia, and have permeated the Washington D.C. healthy living scene. JRINK serves delicious and nutritious offerings via both their retail locations and online delivery.

Shizu’s path to launching JRINK was a winding one, first taking her to the trading floor at Goldman Sachs, where she met her future co-founder, Jennifer Ngai. After her analyst program ended, Shizu traveled to and worked in Mozambique and Bali, where yoga and clean eating were key priorities. It was during this trip that she became more curious about the world and other cultures. When she returned to D.C., Shizu took a job with the World Bank, where Jennifer was also working. Having kept in touch over the years, the two reunited and quickly realized that healthy food options were not available near their office. They did not have access to delivery services at the time and had no healthy options nearby, and the idea for JRINK emerged. Seeking to solve their own problem, Shizu and Jennifer began bringing their own juices to work, where colleagues would ask for tastes and where to one for themselves.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Wrapping Up a Fantastic Semester at the Dingman Center

It’s that time of year. The stream of talented student entrepreneurs we’ve seen come through our doors begins to thin out with the arrival of finals, commencement and (at last!) winter break. But in the quiet of their absence, we can fondly reminisce on the outstanding semester we’ve had at the Dingman Center. In the past couple of months, we’ve seen a record amount of energy and engagement from the community in our programs. Read on for some of our favorite highlights from the semester.

Continue reading

Bootstrapped Season 2 Opens with Social Venture MISFIT Juicery

From their dorm room at Georgetown University to the exclusive Chobani Food Incubator in New York City, the co-founders of MISFIT Juicery, Ann Yang and Phil Wong, are growing their food startup into a recognizable brand with a mission. MISFIT fights food waste by using discarded “ugly” fruits and vegetables to make their attractive and delicious line of cold-pressed juices.

To close out our Ladies First launch, co-hosts Elana Fine and Joe Bailey interviewed female founder Ann Yang and her co-founder Phil Wong about their journey as rising social entrepreneurs on the second season premiere of our Bootstrapped podcast. Listen below and subscribe on iTunes.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

An Interview with Amritha Jayanti, the Founder of Technica

This post is part of a blog series for the launch of Ladies First, the Dingman Center’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.

Ladies First isn’t the only initiative at University of Maryland that is breaking down gender inequality—this weekend marks the second year of Technica, UMD’s all-female hackathon, a student-run event that has garnered national attention. Young women in tech from all over the country flock to Technica, and its list of corporate sponsors includes tech giants like Facebook and Yelp. This year, the Technica team added a “Tech + X” week of workshops and panels leading up to the hackathon to help women better prepare for the weekend ahead. Last night, the Dingman Center contributed its network to a panel on Tech + Social Entrepreneurship, which examined how technology can generate social impact. We spoke with Amritha Jayanti ’18, the founder of Technica, about her vision for the hackathon.

technica-logo-white-colorstripe.png

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Reflections from the Ladies First Kickoff Dinner

This post is part of a blog series for the launch of Ladies First, the Dingman Center’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

by: Nina Silverstein MBA ’17

Last week the Ladies First Kickoff Dinner brought together over 85 current and aspiring female changemakers at the University of Maryland. Ladies First is an initiative to get more women involved in entrepreneurship by creating and empowering a community of changemakers across campus. I was inspired to see so many young women in attendance to hear impactful stories and insights from the panelists.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Ladies First Spotlight: The Story Behind Cocoa Queens

This story is part of a blog series for the launch of Ladies First, the Dingman Center’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.

by: Nadia Laniyan

graduation-head-shot

Nadia Laniyan ’16

During the fall semester of my senior year at University of Maryland I was taking an English course titled “Writing for Social Entrepreneurship.” This was the second professional writing course I took during undergrad, because unlike most seniors, as a part of my Individual Studies Program requirements I had to take two of these courses instead of one. Needless to say, I was not excited about having to take this extra English class, but it quickly became one of my favorite classes. Social entrepreneurship became this new and intriguing world that opened up an innovative side of me that I did not know existed.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Announcing Ladies First: a community of changemakers, creators, and pioneers at UMD

Here at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship we believe that the skills taught by the process of launching a new venture are useful for everyone. Whether a student is interested in launching a traditional business, a social venture, being an “intrapreneur” with an existing organization, or is just passionate about solving a particular problem, our courses and programs are designed to help.

But the truth is that the entrepreneurship world is not as diverse as it should be, because not everyone who could be an entrepreneur thinks it’s a viable option for them. Those who take the entrepreneurial plunge, particularly in high-growth fields like technology, are lionized in our culture. But when we think of those entrepreneurs, we almost exclusively think of men, often without realizing it.  When you search online for images of “famous entrepreneurs”, you see multiple pictures of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates, along with others like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. Out of the first 33 images, only 3 are of women.  Popular culture often overlooks female founders, and the statistics behind gender and entrepreneurship are troubling: while women launched 41% of new businesses on average for the last two decades, that number is falling. It’s even worse in the tech world: in Silicon Valley, only 3% of technology companies are started by women.  Currently, our classes and programs reflect that gender imbalance.ladies-first-badges-black

We’re committed to changing that. The Dingman Center is proud to launch the Ladies First initiative to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at University of Maryland.  Instead of simply increasing marketing efforts to women on our campus, we’re going to help women solve the problems they care about. In many instances, those problems are ones facing our society: climate change, hunger, poverty and inequality, and launching social ventures is one way for them to take action on solving those problems. Entrepreneurship research supports this focus, as women are 17% more likely than men to start a social venture rather than a purely economic one.

In its inaugural year, the Ladies First initiative will:

  • Adapt our courses and programs to be inclusive to social entrepreneurs
  • Expand what it means to be an entrepreneur on our campus

In order to achieve those goals, we must tell stories about diverse entrepreneurs, so that when someone says the term “entrepreneur” we think of Sarah Kauss, founder of S’well, or a classmate who has started a venture, instead of only famous male entrepreneurs. Ladies First launches this week with a series of events, communication pieces, and a visual campaign promoting what female founders look like at the University of Maryland. Additional programming will be offered throughout the school year as we strive to increase the number of women opting in to entrepreneurship on our campus.

Stay tuned for more blog posts in this Ladies First series, and learn more about the initiative on our website.

 

Tagged , ,

An Insider View of spark, UMD’s First Idea Festival

dsc_0004

Lakshmi in the front right in a photo with her spark team, “Steam Dream.”

by: Lakshmi Shyamakrishnan

As someone who is unsure of what she wants to do after college, I’ve had to be a bit experimental in the activities I pursue. I was already in the Smith School of Business, but I did not know where my talents or interests lay within the department. I decided to do something I had never been comfortable with, which was to just approach someone and ask for ideas. I caught up with one of my mentors in the Smith School, Ms. Kristin LaRiviere, and spoke with her about my dilemma. She encouraged me to experiment with entrepreneurship, the next step of which was to visit Dingman Fridays at the Dingman Center. These walk-in office hours were created especially for innovative and entrepreneurial students like me, who were unsure of how to carry on with an idea once it’s been hatched. I met with Ms. Sara Herald, Associate Director of Social Entrepreneurship, who introduced me to the event, spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start, which took place from Friday, October 7th to Saturday, October 8th. spark was a way for me to expand upon my talents and see if I was really cut out to be an entrepreneur. All the participants seemed eager and willing to start their projects as quickly as possible, but first we had to learn the basics.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,