Learning the Meaning of Family in Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

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by: Chris Wolfe

Family is one of the cornerstones of society around the world. It is critical to remember how important family is in your life. This is something that became overwhelmingly clear to me during my three weeks in Ñamarin. The town itself is small, consisting of only 100 families. Every person in the town is extremely close to one another, and they treat each other with great love and respect, something that is often less visible in Western culture. In particular, it is amazing how close the people of Ñamarin are to their families. Even more impressive, however, is how quickly my host family was willing to accept me into their family. Despite a lack of great wealth, I was given anything I needed and was immediately treated as if I had lived in their house forever. Though I had many great adventures with other people, I believe the memories that will remain strongest in my mind are those I experienced with my family in Ñamarin.

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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!

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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.

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Light Up Your Wardrobe with Terp Startup GlowGadget

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the nine student startups who are participating in the Terp Startup summer incubator phase of our Fearless Founders accelerator program. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.

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GlowGadget

The sole founder of GlowGadget, Shane Salta, is a computer engineer turned Smith School of Business MBA graduate who is looking to launch a line of t-shirts that feature smart LED lighting technology. The lighting on the prototype shirt is flexible and seamlessly integrated into the fabric of the shirt itself, in addition to being totally mesmerizing. Through connectivity with an app, the wearer has the ability to fully customize the appearance of the lights to produce colorful designs, patterns and animations. The shirt has exciting potential to dazzle at sports events, where wearers might synchronize a message to support their favorite team, or at a music festival, where the shirt could make wearers an attraction unto themselves. As both a tinkerer and an entrepreneur, Shane is passionate about producing a shirt that is both technologically superior and has mass market appeal.

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Learning the Importance of Questions in Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

by: Adam Sarsony

It seems unnecessary to say that asking a question is how you get answers, but this was a very important lesson for me to learn here in Ecuador. I am now finishing my last week here in Ñamarin, a rural community of approximately 100 families in the mountains of Ecuador. Coming in here, we had barely any idea what life would be like.

Even after living here for the past 3 weeks, I find that there’s no point in making assumptions about the community without asking the people living here whether or not they’re true. The number of times that my assumptions about people have been proven wrong are too many to count.

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Get Stock Market Savvy with Terp Startup Senvision

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the nine student startups who are participating in the Terp Startup summer incubator phase of our Fearless Founders accelerator program. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.

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Senvision’s founders: Sanna Madan (CTO) and Christopher Look (CEO)

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Rising University of Maryland sophomores Christopher Look (CEO) and Sanna Madan (CTO) are the youngest founders in our Terp Startup incubator, but their spot is well-earned. Their venture, Senvision, uses a machine-learning algorithm that conducts sentiment analysis of companies on social media to track stock market movement. Their desired end-product will be a mobile app targeted to millennials to help them invest smarter through day-to-day trade, yielding higher returns. Competing apps tend to rely on a mutual fund strategy, which places the user in a more passive role and denies them the ability to effectively educate themselves about the stock market. The Dingman Center interviewed the founders about their startup, which they launched in their freshman year.

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Frozen Desserts Done Deliciously with Terp Startup FroDoh

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the nine student startups who are participating in the Terp Startup summer incubator phase of our Fearless Founders accelerator program. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.

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FroDoh’s founders, left to right: Diego Lyon (CTO), Holly Wilson (COO), Simon Amato (CEO), Alexandra Cimino (CMO)

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The founders of FroDoh are passionate about shaking up the food industry with their premium frozen desserts. Available in three flavors, blueberry, banana nut and s’mores, FroDoh’s donut holes remain delicious even after freezing, making them ideal for a luxurious late-night snack. Friends Simon Amato, CEO and Holly Wilson, COO launched the company in their junior year at University of Maryland, later bringing in Alexandra (Al) Cimino, CMO and Diego Lyon, CTO. The Dingman Center was able to interview FroDoh’s recently graduated team members, Simon, Holly and Al, who have chosen to pursue their startup full-time.

Want to support FroDoh? Help them raise $20,000 on their Indiegogo campaign!

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Get to Know the Dingman Center: Chris Rehkamp

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!

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Chris Rehkamp, Student Venture Programs Manager

Chris Rehkamp joined the Dingman Center in May 2016 to manage our student venture creation programs, namely the Idea Shell and Terp Startup phases of our Fearless Founders accelerator as well as Dingman Fridays. Since Chris’s arrival, we have seen many new students come in and out of the Center, eager to share their ideas and progress with him. Formerly a Membership Manager at DC’s food incubator Union Kitchen, Chris is experienced at designing an inviting environment for venture creation and collaboration. His take on Dingman Fridays and Terp Startup include music, food and whiteboards to create an energizing space filled with good vibes.

What excites you most about your job?
I’ve always really enjoyed working with people at the intersection of their passion and their creativity. In my role at the Dingman Center, I get to do precisely that, every day. I am so fortunate to sit across from students who have committed themselves to solving problems and building creative solutions.

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Do Good Challenge Finalist Accepted to Terp Startup Incubator

Each year, the Dingman Center provides coaching to teams competing on the venture track of the Do Good Challenge. This year, one of the ventures who made it to the Do Good Challenge Finals, Symbiont Health, later applied and was accepted into this year’s Terp Startup summer incubator. In the video above, CEO Erich Meissner discusses the positive relationship his team was able to build with the Dingman Center.

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Smith School Undergrads Present Research in Rome

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From left: Fasika Delessa, Evan Haas, Aishwariya Chandrasekar, Sarina Haryanto and Professor David Kirsch

by: Megan McPherson

On April 18-19, four Smith School students in the Center for Social Value Creation’s Social Innovation Fellows program, Sarina Haryanto, Aishwariya Chandrasekar, Fasika Delessa and Evan Haas, and Professor David Kirsch attended the inaugural IESE-LUISS Business School Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship in Rome. Under the guidance of Professor Kirsch, these undergraduate students presented their paper, Hybrid Organizations and Social Enterprise Ecosystems: Findings from a U.S. Survey, to a room full of established academics.

The survey that formed the basis of their research was first launched by Halcyon Incubator in Washington, D.C. Last year, Halcyon released From the Ground Up: Defining Social Enterprise Systems in the U.S., the results of a nationwide survey to social entrepreneurs that assessed cities based on four “pillars” that create a healthy framework for a social enterprise ecosystem: Funding, Quality of Life, Human Capital and Regulations & Receptivity. The findings of the report designated Washington D.C. the number one ecosystem for social entrepreneurs.

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A Day of Entrepreneurship with the Dingman Center

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by: Megan McPherson

This year for 30 Days of Entrepreneurship, the Dingman Center decided we would roll a month’s worth of activity into a single day: Thursday, April 20. The result was our Day of Entrepreneurship, which featured the return of a popular Dingman Center event, Terp Marketplace, and later a rousing speech by entrepreneurship guru Jeff Hoffman.

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