APRIL, 2005 ISSUE
SMITH SCHOOL'S DINGMAN CENTER IN THE TOP TIER
College Park, Maryland -- March 28,
2005 -- The entrepreneurship program
at the Robert H. Smith School of
Business is ranked among the top 13
nationally in the April 2005 issue of
Entrepreneur magazine. For the third
consecutive year and since the survey's
inception, the magazine has included the
Smith School prominently among its
annual list of the best 100 collegiate
entrepreneurship programs in the United
“The Smith School's leading approach to
entrepreneurship education and research
gives our students the ability to deal
with complex issues such as the
integration of technology and
globalization, while successfully
undertaking the challenge of building a
successful business,” said Howard Frank,
dean of the Robert H. Smith School of
Business. “The Smith School is committed
to nurturing and growing the
entrepreneurial spirit in our students
and I'm pleased that our
entrepreneurship programs have been
rated among the best in the country.”
According to the sixth annual Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor, a report
measuring entrepreneurial activity
worldwide, 73 million people across the
globe are either nascent entrepreneurs,
or own or manage a young business. Among
Smith School resources supporting
entrepreneurship is the Dingman Center
for Entrepreneurship, a
entrepreneurial center that assists
students and regional entrepreneurs with
expertise and funding.
“One of the strong points of the Dingman
Center is that we truly leverage all
available resources to provide students
with the tools to build success and
confidence to be entrepreneurs,” said
Asher Epstein, managing director of the
Dingman Center. “The Dingman Center
takes advantage of its strategic
position within the Smith School, a
recognized leader in management
education, to draw upon expertise from
the entire university including the
Clark School of Engineering, the
Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute
and the Office of Technology
Commercialization. Students truly have
access to the latest thought leadership,
best practices and mentorship from all
disciplines while mastering the core
principles of successful
Entrepreneur's third annual evaluation
of the best entrepreneurship programs at
U.S. colleges and universities was
performed by TechKnowledge Point Corp.,
an online research and referral exchange
for entrepreneurship and enterprise
Link to online article/list of rankings
UPCOMING DINGMAN CENTER EVENTS
that are open to
the entire entrepreneurial community
Sponsored by Gabriel
PHIL SAMPER, FOUNDING PARTNER, GABRIEL VENTURE
will talk on the topic of Business
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Light refreshments, beer and wine will be served
from 6:00 - 6:45 p.m.
1415 Van Munching Hall (Rouse Room)
There is no charge for this event.
Phil Samper has held numerous positions as CEO
in start-ups and Fortune 500 companies.
As Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of Kodak,
Phil was responsible for 70 percent of their
worldwide operations, leading to a major
The WSJ credited him for the turnaround of Sun's stock when he was CEO
of Sun Microsystems Computer.
As CEO of Cray Research, Phil facilitated a
merger with Silicon Graphics, doubling Cray's
Seating is limited
RSVP to Carol Cron,
"How to Spot a Winning Business Plan"
Panel Discussion with Professor David
Kirsch, Smith School of Business, Professor
Brent Goldfarb, Smith School of Business, Mr.
Pete Howton (CEO of Gray Hawk Systems), Ms.
Robin Hacke (Founder, Portview Communications).
Thursday, April 21,
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Coffee and refreshments will be
2517 Van Munching Hall (Executive Dining Room)
There is no charge for this
RSVP to Carol Cron,
DINGMAN DAY LUNCH
An opportunity to
hear from successful entrepreneurs and venture
Friday, April 22, 2005
12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Mr. Jeffrey Cohen, Managing Director of Quor
Venture Advisors, LLC
Mr. Adam Lehman, Managing Director of Rock Ridge
Mr. Ken Kratovil, 2nd year MBA student and
current Dingman Scholar
3rd Floor Atrium
Van Munching Hall
There is no charge for this
RSVP to Carol Cron,
Cohen is a financier operator and
serial entrepreneur with a history of
consistently identifying business opportunities
and transforming those opportunities into market
and financial successes. Mr. Cohen's fundraising
abilities have ensured that his operating and
client companies have the requisite amount of
financial resources to achieve their potential
and his operational abilities have been the
value adds necessary to ensure the placement and
management of the high-level, high-performance
teams required to provide continuity and ensure
success after his exit. Mr. Cohen's entire
business career has been one of investing,
advising and operating promising and/or
distressed business enterprises.
Mr. Cohen is currently the managing director of
Quor Venture Advisors, LLC., and Chairman and
CEO of MobileComNetworks (MCN). Quor Ventures
was founded in late 2001 as a seed investment
fund and venture advisory firm.
has more than a dozen years of experience
developing new business opportunities, as a
strategist, dealmaker and entrepreneur.
Adam is currently Managing Director of Rock
Ridge Ventures. Rock Ridge develops new business
ventures, invests in and re-positions existing
ventures and provides a wide range of investment
banking and corporate development solutions to
established businesses. Mr. Cohen also serves as
Executive Vice President of ZG Ventures. ZG
Ventures is supporting the national expansion of
In2Books, an innovative new non-profit literacy
program, and developing a related for-profit
Prior to his roles with Rock Ridge and ZG, Adam
was an executive with America Online for seven
years, ultimately serving as a Senior Vice
President. During his tenure with AOL, Adam had
the opportunity to develop strategies, business
plans and strategic partnerships to expand and
solidify AOL's business presence in Europe,
Asia, Latin America, Canada and Australia.
OTHER UPCOMING DINGMAN CENTER EVENTS
are typically by invitation only or have a limited
Friday, April 8
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Mentor Day is an opportunity for
entrepreneurs running start-up businesses to meet
with successful entrepreneurs and ask questions.
For more information on this program, contact Maya
Friday, April 15
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Have you ever earned $500 in 5 minutes? Pitch
Dingman with your new business idea in 5 minutes . .
. and you could earn $500! This is how the
monthly Pitch Dingman Competition is being promoted
to University of Maryland students, faculty and
staff. While this event is not open to the
public, it is one of the many valuable resources
available in the Smith School of Business for
launching a new venture. For more information
on the Pitch Dingman Competition, visit the
Please see the story below for the
winner of last month's Pitch Dingman Competition.
Friday, May 6, 2005
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Capital Access Network Angel Breakfast at Montgomery
County Technology Development Center
Companies: Select incubator companies from the
Montgomery County incubator and pre-screened Dingman
Center-sponsored companies. For more
information on the Capital Access Network, visit the
PITCH DINGMAN COMPETITION -- WINNER OF MARCH
Dingman Center Awards $500 in New Monthly
Josh Norris, a senior General Business
major in the Smith School, was awarded the
first $500 Pitch Dingman Prize for the most
outstanding new business venture. The
business pitch competition was hosted by the
Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship of the
Smith Business School. On Friday March 4th
twelve teams pitched their business idea to
a committee of Dingman Scholars and
Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. The top prize
was awarded to student/magician/ entrepreneur
Josh Norris, for his company
Interactive Magic books magicians, jugglers,
fire eaters and other variety artists for
corporate functions, private parties, and
special events. Josh Norris, who began
performing magic professionally at the age
of 14, recently launched the company in an
attempt to better serve his current and
future clients. What began as a childhood
hobby of card tricks and gags, has evolved
into a full service variety entertainment
company which now caters exclusively to
corporate and professional clients. Boasting
an impressive list of clients (including 7
Eleven Inc., Nordstrom, Enterprise Car Sales,
and over 200 other clients) and award winning
talent, Norris' business has grown by more
100 percent for each of three consecutive years. For more
Interactive Magic, please
contact Josh at 443-992-3108.
The $500 Pitch Dingman Competition is held
monthly. All University of Maryland
students, faculty and staff are eligible to
pitch. Interested contestants are encouraged
to participate in weekly (non-competitive)
Pitch Dingman mentoring sessions held every
Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the
Dingman Center, 3570 Van Munching Hall. For
more information about Pitch Dingman, email
UPDATE ON STUDENT-RUN BUSINESSES
Upscale Shopping Guide, SHOPDC, Debuts
Owned by Dingman Scholar Zoey Rawlins, CEO
of Rawlins Media
scheduled to go out on April 4, 2004)
Shoppers visiting Washington DC now have a
great, new resource for upscale shopping,
dining and activities.
a magazine owned and managed by Rawlins
Media. The publication's launch this month
follows a $7,000 investment from the
Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at
the Robert H. Smith School of Business,
University of Maryland, to second-year MBA
student and SHOPDC founder, Zoey Rawlins.
The investment was part of the seed stage
funding the center makes available to
student-run, start-up companies.
The upscale magazine, to be published
bi-annually and available in area luxury
hotels at no cost to visitors, will include
timely information on high-end retail shops,
spas and galleries. Rawlins – an experienced
shopper herself – founded the publication
after recognizing a need for local
information geared toward the high-end
“It's got the look and feel of Town &
Country, but tailored to the Washington DC
market,” said Rawlins.
The Dingman Center was an instrumental
resource in getting the magazine off the
ground. Rawlins' idea for the publication
grew out of an exercise called the “Dingman
Process” – a step-by-step approach to
finding gaps in a market and developing
products or services to meet consumers'
needs. The Dingman process provides a
framework for the development of an idea
into a viable business concept.
“This is a prime example of how the Dingman
Center helps area and student entrepreneurs
through every step of creating and growing a
business – or what we call ideation,
assessment, implementation and iteration –
as part of the Dingman Process,” said Asher
Epstein, managing director of the Dingman
The Dingman Center, a nationally-recognized,
leading entrepreneurial center, assists
students and regional entrepreneurs with
expertise, resources and funding. As part of
the center's mission in nurturing regional
entrepreneurialism, students are eligible to
compete for $50,000 of seed stage funding
per year. Investments are determined on a
case-by-case basis with a maximum investment
The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at
the Robert H. Smith School of Business,
University of Maryland, is one of the first
and leading entrepreneurial centers in the
nation. The Dingman Center has facilitated,
supported and guided entrepreneurs in the
Mid-Atlantic region since 1986. More
information about the Dingman Center can be
BioTech Conference on March 11, 2005
Co-Sponsored by the Dingman Center for
the Smith School BioPharma Association
Biotechnology companies learn how to
attract more venture capital
Bond, Staff Writer
Article appeared in The Business Gazette
on March 18, 2005
Venture capitalists say they look mainly
for two things when considering an
investment in a life sciences company:
an appealing technology and a commitment
by its executives to see the company
through its early stages.
Maryland has historically had a
difficult time competing for venture
capital with the nation's other big
biotechnology hotbeds, California and
Massachusetts. But industry insiders,
speaking at a forum last week at the
Robert H. Smith School of Business at
the University of Maryland, College
Park, said money is readily available to
Maryland companies if they go about it
the right way.
Wei-Wu He, general partner and
co-founder of Emerging Technology
Partners in Rockville and one of the
original members of the team that built
Rockville biotech Human Genome Sciences,
largely dismissed a question on how to
recreate a Maryland version of Sand Hill
Road, a street in Menlo Park, Calif.,
famous for its concentration of venture
"Importing money is probably not as
difficult as you think," Wei-Wu said.
The Silicon Valley Bank, which began
providing capital in the technology-rich
center of California, has opened offices
in other high-tech areas, including
Vienna, Va. The bank is "looking for a
company that has some [interesting]
ideas," said Megan Scheffel, vice
president and relationship manager for
the Santa Clara, Calif., bank.
"Capital is the easiest transported
commodity," Wei-Wu said. "People are
more difficult to transport."
Those in the life sciences field in
Maryland are just as good as those in
California, he said. Maryland would
benefit from more second-generation
entrepreneurs who have already done the
The state also needs more groups of
entrepreneurs who can work well
together, he said.
Startups cannot "glue five or six people
together and hope they just love each
other." Luck favors those who already
talk to each other, he said.
One of Wei-Wu's observations appeared to
be directed to the Smith School itself.
He noted that master's in business
administration programs train students
to work for big companies that already
exist rather than for startups, which
are riskier but also happen to make up a
large proportion of the industry in
More than 50 percent of innovation is
taking place in small labs, he said.
"Biotech doesn't happen by itself."
Most recently, venture capital has
flowed to later-stage companies, but the
pendulum appears to be swinging back to
those who want to start new ones, said
Jeff Jones, a principal with Emerging
Technology Partners. This will lead to a
series of "truly novel technologies," he
Half of Emerging Technology's two dozen
portfolio companies are in this region.
While the venture capital firm still
seeks later-stage, established
technologies, "we are always happy to
talk to [startup] entrepreneurs," Jones
Emerging Technology Partners has about
$60 million under management and is
financing about 20 biotechs, some of
which are doing well and some of which
"Get as much cash as you can," Scheffel
suggested. "It'll always be harder than
The insiders had this advice for those
seeking capital: develop a novel idea,
use great people committed to the
industry and establish small goals.
"You want to see progress and
achievement of certain milestones," said
Frank Bonsal, director and co-founder of
Red Abbey Venture Partners in Baltimore.
In biotech, this would mean moving from
the preclinical stage to Phase 1 and 2
of a clinical trial.
Key to moving forward is perseverance,
"Once you get involved in a company, you
better be prepared to stick with it."
Red Abbey has raised $6 billion and is
looking for companies that have been in
business for a while and have
established a reliable timetable, Bonsal
Christopher Anzalone, founder and CEO of
The Benet Group in Washington, D.C.,
said the investment group looks for
promising technology over all else.
Nanotechnology looks particularly
promising, with the federal government
putting upward of a billion dollars into
nanotech research annually.
But Bonsal said using public money to
finance nanotech is probably premature.
He cited NanoInk, a Chicago company
formerly headed by Anzalone, which
issued an initial public offering only
to later withdraw it due to lack of
"There's capital," Anzalone said.
"What's missing is good companies."
Investors should keep an eye on the next
new thing, such as nanotech, at the same
time that they "look for ashes in the
rubble of the bubble bursting," Bonsal
"You have to be a good buyer and a good
seller," he said. "It takes two
decisions to make money in the
Wei-Wu said he has seen hundreds of
business plans and thinks the industry
is still underappreciated.
"We're developing more drugs now than in
any time in human history," he noted.
The venture capital community will soon
move beyond the scare from the burst
technology bubble of a few years ago, he
said. Local entrepreneurs should remain
committed to selling themselves and
boosting the Maryland industry in the
"Keep trying, keep trying," Wei-Wu said.
"If we're focused on it, [and] we keep
trying, you never know. You never know.
"We have the right ingredients."
CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Founded by Rudy Lamone in 1986, the Dingman Center was one of
the first of its kind in the country and has emerged as a
top-ranked entrepreneurship center. Thanks to initial funding
with a generous grant from Michael D. Dingman, founder of the
Signal Corporation (now part of Honeywell International), the
Dingman Center continues to grow as a regional and national
catalyst in the field of entrepreneurship. The Center is now
aggressively evolving, and in some areas, is expanding its
services to further its role as a leader in the student,
regional, and academic entrepreneurial communities.
The Dingman Center is currently led by:
Asher Epstein, Managing Director
Dr. Charles Heller, Chairman of the Board and Director Emeritus
Dr. Scott Koerwer, Associate Dean, Executive Education,
Please visit our website at
newsletter is co-sponsored by
2005 Issues of Dingman Center