Wrapping Up Fall 2017 at the Dingman Center

Fall2017Wrap Collage

The end of the semester is here once again! Student entrepreneurs are buckling down to get through their final exams, group projects and presentations before they’re off for the holidays. As the Dingman Center quiets down while students are studying, we’ve had time to reflect on the events we’ve held throughout the semester. In these past few months, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of energy, engagement and enthusiasm from the community at our events and programs at the Smith School. Take a look at some of our favorite highlights over the past semester!

Continue reading

Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals Recap

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This past Thursday, we hosted our annual Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals in the Frank Auditorium of Van Munching Hall. With the recent news that University of Maryland had risen to #8 in the country in undergraduate entrepreneurship education, it was no surprise to see the room filled with attendees enthusiastically cheering for this extraordinary group of student founders.

Chaired by generous donor and UMD alumnus Robert G. Hisaoka, this year’s Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals was preceded by an announcement for the new Hisaoka Entrepreneurs program. As part of the program, each semifinalist team will receive mentoring, coaching and additional funding to accelerate their venture toward success.

With only 4 minutes to present and 2 minutes for Q&A from judges, the 10 semifinalists all pitched their businesses admirably, but in the end, the judges chose these six exemplary startups to advance to the Finals:

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Reflections on the 2nd Annual Ladies First Fall Dinner

by: Karolyn Maynard MBA ’18

Ladies First is the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


Sara Herald, Associate Director of Social Entrepreneurship began the Ladies First dinner with these words.  The theme of the evening—‘Purpose’ and an avenue to achieving that purpose—Social Entrepreneurship.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

5 Reasons the Dingman Center is Smith Proud

Smith Day is a new tradition that celebrates our strong community of Robert H. Smith School of Business students, faculty, staff and alumni. We are innovative, collaborative and driven. We support and empower each other. We are truly proud to be Smith Terps. To celebrate the inaugural Smith Day, we at the Dingman Center would like to share what makes us #UMDSmithProud.

Our Diverse Community


The University of Maryland, College Park campus is one of the most diverse in the nation, and the Smith School is no exception. The student entrepreneurs we see come through the Center come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances, and the diversity of ideas we hear daily reflects that. It is truly exciting to meet students with wildly differing perspectives and stories, but who are all looking to explore entrepreneurship.

Continue reading

Announcing the 2017 Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinalists

PDC Semifinalists

We are pleased to announce the 10 semifinalists of Pitch Dingman Competition, whose founders will make up the inaugural cohort of Hisaoka Entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will receive mentoring and coaching to help them further accelerate their businesses, whether or not they make the cut for Pitch Dingman Competition Finals.

Register now to cheer these students on at the Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals on November 16 at 6 p.m. in Frank Auditorium, VMH!

Here are the 10 semifinalist startups and their founders:

Basereach – Dan Bogachek
Basereach sends personalized handwritten cards in your own handwriting to better connect with and thank your customers.

BEEQBOX – Brianna Queen
BEEQBOX provides vegan and cruelty-free illuminating cosmetic products with a branded feminist twist.

Dark Sonar Technologies, LLC – George Lee, Simon Schlegel
Dark Sonar is a cybersecurity company that prevents synthetic identity fraud on websites and mobile apps for small and medium sized businesses.

Emprology – Sydney Parker
Emprology, LLC is a digital brand consultancy and content creation shop that works to build influential personal brands for black women.

Flee – Didac Hormiga
Flee is a location-based social media app that helps people find local events and entertainment.

Manta Technologies – Daniel Diazdelcastillo
The MANTA vessel efficiently eliminates water debris to save millions of sea life from water pollution.

MPLEX VR – Stephen Walsh, Mikhail Sorokin, Galen Stetsyuk
MPLEX is a virtual reality (VR) video game company creating a competitive, multiplayer game with the depth, variety, and personalization worth getting a VR headset for.

Ötzi – Shyon Parsadoust, Nick Sarfaraz
A Tinder-like platform for tattoo artists and their customers to better connect with one another before the inking process begins.

Senvision – Chris Look, Sanna Madan
Senvision’s algorithm performs global sentiment analysis on social media to predict stock market movement.

Symbiont Health – Erich Meissner, Maria Chen, Kyle Liu
Symbiont Health has developed wearable, automated fall detection devices for seniors.

Terp Marketplace Brings Homecoming Festivities to the Smith School

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By: Eric Elliot

Fall is here and the entrepreneurial spirit is in the air! To celebrate homecoming weekend at the Smith School, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted Terp Marketplace on Friday; student entrepreneurs set up their businesses and sold their products and services directly to students, staff, faculty and alumni who were participating in the festivities. We had a fantastic turnout of entrepreneurs who were eager to test the market and get feedback on their businesses. Below is the list of students that participated in the event. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported these student entrepreneurs, and we’re already looking forward to the next Terp Marketplace in spring!

Continue reading

A Look Back at spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start

by: Eric Elliot & Megan McPherson

Last Friday and Saturday October 20-21, 2017 was the second annual event of spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and Startup Shell. spark is a two-day idea brainstorming festival where students get together, form teams and come up with creative solutions to problems they care about. spark serves a valuable role in the programming ecosystem of the Dingman Center, as it gives students who don’t have a venture but are interested in entrepreneurship a way to explore how their passions can lead to business ideas.


Continue reading

3 Things I Did To “Surprise and Delight” My Way to 15,000 Customers

by: Sam Feldman, Founder, CardBuddy



I fell in love with entrepreneurship soon after arriving at college, and made it my goal to run a business full-time upon graduating. I went 2 years without any paying customers, but during my junior year I started CardBuddy, a stick-on phone wallet company that now does over $100K annual revenue (and have been running it full-time since graduating last May).

I have some unique customer service strategies which have brought me great results, and I thought I’d share them here!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Terp Toolkit: How To Attract & Hire The Right Talent

Terp Toolkit highlights resources for starting your business.  Interested in additional business guidance or have a startup idea? Come to Dingman Fridays for feedback from our experienced venture mentors, or consider applying to our Fearless Founders accelerator. You can also learn about the startup world and discover stories from real founders through our Bootstrapped podcast and Washington Post: Business Rx index.

by: Eric Elliot

IMG_5777 (1)

Resources to Help Find Talent:

  • Utilize Teachers and Mentors – Teachers and mentors are a fantastic resource to utilize when it comes to finding new talent. Not only will they have extensive networks that they can pull from, but if you both get along well, they’ll probably go out of their way to find someone that fits the needs of your startup. At the very least, they’ll keep their eye out for anyone they run into that could help you out.
  • Find Relevant Channels – There are a multitude of different mediums that you can use to attract talent. If you’re a student, for example, take advantage of the opportunities and communities within your school: reach out to the business clubs on campus, participate on social media and job boards, attend events that will allow you to meet and recruit potential talent, etc. Being proactive will go a long way in building awareness for your startup and attracting the right personnel. In addition, check out the various jobs and events around MD through the Dingman Center’s biweekly newsletter, The Pitch.
  • Go to Startup & Networking Events  – Take advantage of networks and talent pools in your area! Go to local startup and networking events and connect with other entrepreneurs and business people. Attendees at these events are usually more than happy to help younger startups trying to grow, and they’ll often have a vast wealth of contacts with the skills you’re looking for that they can put you in touch with.
  • Leverage Your Own Personal Network –  When it comes to hiring talent, consider who’s already within your own personal network. Do you already know someone who has the skills you’re looking for? Do any of your friends know someone that you could get in touch with? Have you looked through your LinkedIn connections and reached out? You know a lot more people than you think, so take time to go through your connections and explore the options already open to you.

Things To Consider When Hiring:

  •  Focus on Passion Over Talent –  Be wary of hiring somebody based just on their talents alone. While it may be great for someone to have a 4.1 GPA, tons of experience and plenty of accolades, if the desire and vision aren’t there, they aren’t going to be the best possible fit for your startup. You can always teach someone job skills, but passion for a business or industry is innate.
  • What You Can’t Offer In Salary, You Can Offer In Experience – As a startup, it’s more than likely that you won’t be able to pay a new hire an extensive amount of money. Most people will probably understand this when applying, but let candidates know that they’ll have an actual impact with real and visible effects on your company. They’ll play a vital role in shaping the success of your business, and the experience that they’ll gain from working for you will be invaluable to them in the future.
  • Timing Is Critical – Timing plays a huge role in determining whether or not your hire will be successful. If you hire someone too early, you run the risk of not having a suitable infrastructure for them to work within. If you hire them too late, however, then you may miss key opportunities to use your new hire that you could’ve capitalized on earlier. The best time to hire someone is right before you actually need them, so to take steps to ensure that you’re hiring the right personnel at the right time.


Eric Elliot is the Marketing Intern at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Eric is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and is part of the Strategic Design and Innovation Fellows. In his spare time, you can find Eric reading, drinking coffee, or playing the newest video games.


What’s Coming Up at the Dingman Center

There are plenty of exciting events happening at and around the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Get out your calendars and mark down these dates—we’ll see you there!


Pitch Dingman Competition Applications
Monday, September 18 to Thursday, October 19

Pitch Dingman Competition is the University of Maryland’s only business competition exclusively for Terps. Held annually, students can compete for $30,000 in startup funding. Student entrepreneurs should apply at go.umd.edu/pitchcompetition.

Dingman Jumpstart
Friday, October 6, 12-3 p.m. | 1505 Van Munching Hall

Dingman Jumpstart is open to all University of Maryland students who have a startup idea, but lack a business framework with which to operate. This pivotal workshop is a 3 hour crash-course in business models, financials, understanding your competition, and much more. Set your business up for success, and apply now at go.umd.edu/jumpstart!

spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start by the Dingman Center & Startup Shell
Friday & Saturday, October 20 – 21 | Pownall Atrium, Van Munching Hall

spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start is a two-day ideation event featuring brainstorming activities that encourage students to find solutions to problems they want to solve. spark provides students who are interested in entrepreneurship but haven’t yet founded a venture with a means to discover and explore how their passions can translate into business ideas. Register at go.umd.edu/spark

Friday, October 20, 5-9 p.m.
What Problem Do You Want To Solve?

On Friday night, under the direction of Professor Oliver Schlake students will brainstorm with their peers about problems they would like to solve. By the end of the night, they will join a team and begin collaborating to come up with ideas for solutions to their chosen problems.

Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
How Will You Solve It?

On Saturday, students will attend a series of workshops and work with mentors to fine-tune their idea and ultimately present their results at a Show and Tell, where judges will pick winners to take home prizes.

Terp Marketplace
Friday, October 27, 12-2 p.m. | Pownall Atrium, Van Munching Hall

(Terp Marketplace)dsc_0062blogTerp Marketplace is an opportunity for student entrepreneurs to sell or showcase their products and gather feedback from the Smith community. There’s no better way to test your product on the open market than going out there and selling what you have, even if it isn’t perfect! Participation is free and is open to all current UMD students. Sign up for a table at go.umd.edu/terpmarketplace!


Ladies First Fall Dinner
Wednesday, November 8, 6 p.m. | 2517 Van Munching Hall

(Ladies First)DSC_0016Ladies First is the Dingman Center’s initiative to get more women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD. Female students are invited to attend the second annual Ladies First dinner and learn more about upcoming Ladies First programs and events for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals
Thursday, November 16, 6:00PM | Frank Auditorium

featuredphotoAt Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals, 10 student startups will pitch their businesses to judges to win a spot at the Finals in the spring. At the end, five startup teams will move on to compete for a shot at the $15,000 grand prize! Come cheer on your fellow Terps and learn more about the Pitch Dingman Competition at go.umd.edu/pitchcompetition!