College Park, MD - October 8, 2007 - The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business today announced the launch of a $175,000 alumni donor endowment fund for the Smith School's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship to invest in student- and alumni-run companies. The fund was established with gifts from Smith alumni Carly Fiorina, former president and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, and Kevin Plank, founder and chief executive of Under Armour. A $50,000 portion of the fund is earmarked for investment in socially responsible ventures. The Dingman Center's Melissa Carrier will oversee management of the fund with opportunity for Smith student involvement in her new role as director of Venture Investments and Social Entrepreneurship.
Carly and Kevin provide great inspiration as incredible examples of where entrepreneurial drive and leadership can take Smith students, said Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center.
Thanks to the generous gifts of Carly and Kevin, this fund will allow us to make significant investments in the next generation of entrepreneurs at the Smith School and to continue funding exciting and innovative ventures, Carrier added. This is a fantastic base on which to build a strong source of investment and were committed to growing the fund.
Fiorina, a 1980 MBA graduate of the school, led Hewlett-Packard back to its roots of innovation and spearheaded the company's controversial merger with Compaq Computer Corp., now called one of the most successful high-tech mergers in history. She donated $100,000 to the Smith Schools Dingman Center for the fund and designated half be used for investing in socially responsible ventures.
The business landscape is changing business leaders cant just think about their bottom lines, they have to think about the impact their companies are having on society, the environment and the world, Fiorina said. Corporate social responsibility is the future of business and its important that students and entrepreneurs adopt these practices early. Im pleased to see the Smith School is focused on fostering these values.
Plank, who donated $75,000 for the fund, earned his bachelors degree from the Smith School in 1996 and also played football for the University of Maryland where he first got the idea for the performance athletic apparel that is the core of his Baltimore-based Under Armour.
Building a business is all about passion, energy and drive, but its also crucial to have the means to get your idea off the ground, Plank said. The Dingman Center is a fantastic resource for students who have great ideas, but need some help making them happen with access to business guidance, feedback and funding.
The Dingman Center invests up to $30,000 in viable companies started by current and former Smith students. The center has invested in, among others, Hook & Ladder Brewing Co., a microbrewery started by a Smith MBA student; board game maker North Star Games, started by two Smith School MBAs; SHOP DC, a shopping publication started by an MBA student and acquired by the Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive; Goozex, an online used video game trading platform founded by a Smith MBA and University of Maryland undergraduate economics graduate; and Geocentric, a Web-based destination marketing company founded by a Smith EMBA graduate.