Welcome back! Thank goodness it’s “Innovation Fridays.”
Last spring, we got on board with the University of Maryland’s “Innovation Fridays,” introducing weekly coverage to highlight some of the exciting happenings around innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. This fall, we continue that semester-long commitment.
We’re building a community of entrepreneurs here at the Smith School, helping students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community think more like innovators and start and grow businesses. We’re leading a university-wide pledge to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across campus each week with “Innovation Fridays” programs. Every Friday throughout the semester, students, faculty and staff can get feedback and advice to help start and grow businesses. These events are hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, the Smith School’s hub of entrepreneurial activity for more than 25 years; Smith’s Center for Social Value Creation; and the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH).
Innovation Fridays programs all hopefully feed students to participate in the university’s new Fearless Founders program, spearheaded by the Dingman Center. The seven-week program will begin in October with its first cohort participating together in events outside the classroom. Both the Dingman Center and MTECH will host workshops and speakers. Students will have to attend advising sessions with the Dingman Center entrepreneurs-in-residence. The program is a rigorous approach to teaching entrepreneurship, and the goal is to get students thinking about and testing the viability of their business ideas from the beginning.
Eventually some of the Fearless Founders participants may be ready to participate in the Dingman Center’s main event: The spring Cupid’s Cup business competition, this year entering its ninth season. The annual competition continues to be supported by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, ’96, and is now open to student entrepreneurs nationwide to compete for $70,000 in cash and access to Plank’s network. The competition kicks off this fall, as the Dingman Center begins accepting applications later this month. (Look for upcoming “Innovation Fridays” coverage about the competition.)
The Smith School is committed to offering entrepreneurship courses and weaving innovative thinking throughout the curriculum for MBAs and undergraduates. Students start out early, with MBAs challenged to create and operate a business in their very first week on campus as part of orientation. (Up next week: A look at this year’s MBA Marketplace event.)
Also coming up, we’ll hear from Rajshree Agarwal, the Dean’s Chair Professor in Entrepreneurship and Strategy and academic director of the Dingman Center. She’ll fill us in on the importance of research in entrepreneurship, how that translates to the classroom, and why all students need to understand the entrepreneurial process.
This offers just a quick snapshot of some of the entrepreneurship activities at Smith this semester. Tune in each week to see how Smith is helping to build businesses and fuel innovative thinking.
Coming Up this Semester:
- Smith Marketplace: MBAs Get their First Introduction to Entrepreneurship
- A Conversation with Rajshree Agarwal: Why Entrepreneurship Matter in the Classroom
- Jumpstart Your Business: An Entrepreneur’s Toolkit