April 17, 2009
Van Munching Hall
2 - 3 p.m.
3 - 5 p.m.
Cupid’s Cup Competition Finals
Be there! Space is limited.
Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship Hosts Start-Up Bootcamp
The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland's Robert
H. Smith School of Business has found a unique way to inject entrepreneurial spirit
into campus activities with a Dingman Center Bootcamp. In January 2009, under the
Dingman Center's initiative, 28 University of Maryland students from diverse majors
gathered at the Smith School to bring their business ideas to life in less than
three weeks. The main goal of the bootcamp is to get students comfortable with start-up
culture within the center's experiential learning environment.
So what was the Dingman Center Bootcamp all about? In a nutshell, each student
committed 100+ hours for three weeks during winter break. Forming, brainstorming
and performing was the plan of action. The center provided all the resources required
to get a project off the ground including expert advice from the center's experienced
entrepreneurs-in-residence, legal counseling, and networking events with venture
capital and angel investors. Outcomes included a more refined business plan and
ideas - not to mention free lunches and networking events!
The strongest support system for each venture, however, was built among the students
"Working day in and day out of the same room, thinking aloud and having everyone
pitch in comments, suggestions and critical analyses on just about anything, laid
down a strong foundation for each venture before taking it to the outside world,"
said Fatema Kothari, a University of Maryland graduate student. "This had to be
one of the best experiences I've ever had and it's really built my confidence as
well as my connections.
"I am so impressed with the effort and dedication of these students who voluntary
gave up their winter breaks for a unique learning experience. In a tough economic
environment students with such tremendous initiative would be a great addition for
any new venture," said Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center.
In a job market where uncertainty is certain, the center is giving students fundamentals
that will help them stay ahead of the curve and soar when the time is right. In
addition to building ventures, the bootcamp was meant to be fun. Team building activities
included field trips to the local mall to study retail businesses. Every day, lunch
hours were spent building camaraderie, with collective discussion about individual
progress for each new venture. There were 11 ventures in all, and at the end of
the three weeks, the groups made presentations to a panel of entrepreneurs and venture
capitalists for start-up funding.
These companies will try to make $5,000 by the end of February in order to become
eligible for the Fourth Annual Cupid's Cup Business Plan Competition, April 17,
where $22,500 in prize money will be awarded to the best University of Maryland
student or alumni startup.
If you are interested in participating in the next Dingman Boot Camp, contact