News at Smith

Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship Announces New Leadership and Expands Campus Role

Sep 18, 2012
Entrepreneurial Spirit

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College Park, Md. – September 18, 2012 – The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business announced new leadership of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship as the center moves to further integrate the entrepreneurial process into the student experience. Elana Fine will head the Dingman Center in her new role as managing director. Rajshree Agarwal, professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, will provide leadership for research and formal education programs fostered by the center as academic director. The Dingman Center’s new leaders take the helm as the center moves to better integrate entrepreneurship education throughout the curriculum across campus, a cornerstone of President Wallace Loh’s strategic initiatives for the University of Maryland.

“Elana joins a long line of innovative and successful leaders of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship,” said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. “I am confident that with this new leadership, the Smith School will elevate its activities in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship in support of the university's strategy and the mission of the State of Maryland. The Dingman Center will take its place as one of the nation's pre-eminent institutions where both the education and practice of entrepreneurship are pursued vigorously.”

The Dingman Center has a more than 25-year history of providing University of Maryland students with practical experiences and opportunities to pitch their business ideas, receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and access funding. Fine will lead the center’s growth as a top national and regional incubator of entrepreneurship, and Agarwal will work to expand the center’s role in curriculum and research. In addition to providing resources for students, the Dingman Center plays an integral role in the Washington-Baltimore region’s entrepreneurial community. Its Dingman Center Angels program provides area entrepreneurs with mentoring on funding pitches and access to one of the region’s most active groups of angel and venture capital investors.

Fine joined the Dingman Center in 2010 as the director of venture investments and was promoted to associate director in January. Before joining the Dingman Center, Fine was an associate and vice president at the Boston office of Revolution Partners, a national middle market investment bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions and private capital advisory for the technology industry. She advised on transactions ranging between $5 million and $100 million, including venture investment for both early- and late-stage private companies, sell-side and buy-side acquisitions, and fairness opinions. Fine also served as the bank’s chief financial officer from 2003-2006 and administered the firm’s internal controls and budge as it grew to $10 million annually.

Prior to Revolution Partners, Fine worked as a consultant with Accenture. She earned an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a BS in finance, magna cum laude, from the Smith School.

Agarwal joined the Smith School of Business in 2010 as the Dean’s Chair in Strategy and Entrepreneurship. Previously, Agarwal was the John Georges Professor of Technology and Strategy at the University of Illinois. Her research interests focus on the implications of entrepreneurship and innovation for industry and firm evolution. She has published articles in the top industry journals, receiving numerous awards for her work. She is an associate editor of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and the editor of the SSRN Entrepreneurship and Economics Journal. She has received research grants from the Kauffman Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Marketing Science Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture. Agarwal has a PhD in economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship education and practice for over 25 years. The Center’s primary activities include helping students build their ventures, creating experiential learning opportunities and providing regional entrepreneurs with access to capital. Key programs for University of Maryland students include Pitch Dingman, weekly walk-in sessions to pitch business ideas to experienced entrepreneurs for feedback, Cupid’s Cup, an annual business competition sponsored by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, and the China Business Plan Competition, an annual competition and global studies trip in partnership with Peking University. Within the region, the Center operates Dingman Center Angels, the most active angel investor network with more than 40 members and 30 companies funded since 2005.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.