Pitch Dingman: FAQs
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1. Who can participate?
Pitch Dingman informal sessions are open to all members of the University of
Maryland community including faculty, staff, students and alumni. Monthly
competitions are reserved for current students. You dont have to be a Smith
School of Business student to participate, you can be enrolled in any program on
any campus at the University of Maryland.
2. What is the difference between the monthly competitions and the regular
Every Friday students can come to the Dingman Center between 11-1 p.m. to
pitch their idea and receive feedback from a Dingman Center
Entrepreneurs-in-Residence that will help them develop their idea. These
sessions are closed-door and informal.
Twice a semester, the Dingman Center holds a $2,750 Pitch Dingman competition
where student entrepreneurs give a six-minute presentation on their business
idea to a panel of judges. The judges then engage in a Q&A and offer feedback on
the presentation. The pitches are scored and ranked, with the winner being
awarded a $2,500 prize to be used for their business. Participation is limited
to students who participated in informal sessions. All students, faculty, staff
and community are invited to be audience members and vote for the $250 Audience
3. Do I need to come with a business plan?
NO! All you need is an idea. However, if your business is far beyond the idea
stage and you need help growing/scaling it, we can help you as well.
4. I am not a business school student, can I still come?
YES! Pitch Dingman program is open to ALL University of Maryland students,
including part-time students and students on other UMD campuses.
5. Can I sit in on a Pitch Dingman Session?
The informal sessions are closed-door and students are not allowed to sit in
other sessions so that every entrepreneur can feel secure and free to talk. All
students are welcome to attend Pitch Dingman Competitions.
6. What can I expect from Pitch Dingman?
The Pitch Dingman program utilizes a give-and-take approach to building
relationships with entrepreneurs. In other words, the more effort and progress
we see the entrepreneur demonstrate, the more resources such as time, workspace,
and capital we are willing to invest. The initial pitch and feedback session
will be very concise, following the framework of a first contact venture capital
pitch. As the entrepreneur demonstrates initiative in executing their business
idea, they will have greater access to Dingman Management team and
Entrepreneurs-In-Residence through one-on-one meetings and working sessions.
This process ensures that Dingman resources are directed to the entrepreneurs
who will achieve the greatest returns.
7. Do I have to wear a suit?
NO! We evaluate the quality of your idea and presentation, not your fashion
sense. The informal sessions really are informal, you can wear your everyday
clothes. For the competition you may want to dress up a bit to look more
8. What can I do with the award money?
Prize money is to be used towards starting/growing the business that you
pitched only. Please read below about the post-competition process.
9. What happens after the competition? Am I on my own?
After the competition, the winners are placed in the Dingman Virtual
Incubator program. They are required to meet with the Dingman Center staff and
advisors twice a month for 3-6 months, depending on the industry, stage of
development, and individual needs. The Dingman Center team and the entrepreneur
will develop a strategy with specific goals and deliverables for each meeting.
Following a successful completion of the Virtual Incubation program, additional
funding may be granted.