A Connected Community of Remarkable Entrepreneurs
The Dingman Center is one of the nation’s pre-eminent institutions where the research, education and practice of entrepreneurship are pursued vigorously. We develop and execute curricular and non-curricular programs that uniquely leverage Smith School thought leadership, experiential learning and our network of practitioners to provide maximum resources to our startup community. Every initiative is designed to support the Center’s mission within the Robert H. Smith School of Business:
- We equip the next generation to launch and support ventures that advance industry and society;
- We connect the University of Maryland to the innovation economy; and
- We leverage thought leadership and our network to make entrepreneurs of all kinds more successful.
“It takes entrepreneurs to instill an entrepreneurial culture,” says entrepreneur and Dingman Center Founder and former Smith School of Business Dean Rudy Lamone. In 1986, when Lamone set out to establish an entrepreneurial support center for the business school, he found a willing partner in Michael D. Dingman, founder of the Signal Corporation, now part of Honeywell International. With a generous grant from Mr. Dingman, the Dingman Center emerged as a top-ranked entrepreneurship center due to the efforts of Dr. Lamone and future directors Charles Heller (1990-1999), and Don Spero (2000-2004). Both Heller and Lamone were recipients of the EY Entrepreneur-of-the-Year award for their work in support of entrepreneurship, the first time in the history of the awards that two individuals from the same organization were honored. Under the leadership of Asher Epstein (2004-2012), the Dingman Center continued as a global catalyst in the evolving arena of entrepreneurship practice. In 2014, the Dingman Center received the prestigious NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a distinction earned under the leadership of the Center's current executive director, Elana Fine.You can read Elana's thoughts on the most recent academic year in the 2016-17 Dingman Center Annual Report.
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The Dingman Center’s History of 'Firsts'
- The Center's Dingman Center Angels was the first to bring regional start-up companies seeking early-stage funding to the angel investing community and is the largest university-run angel investor network.
- The Dingman Center was among the first to create and teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of entrepreneurship.
- The Dingman Center developed some of the first courses in business biotechnology and technology entrepreneurship.
- The Dingman Center was the first to organize a national meeting of leading entrepreneurship centers in the U.S., thus creating the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC), a 200+ member organization.
- The Dingman Center was the first to provide workshops, seminars, and training programs for the regional entrepreneurial community.
- The Dingman Center was among the first recipients of Kaufman and Coleman Foundation grants to support the Center's programs.
- The Dingman Center was the first center on campus to establish faculty summer research awards.
- It is the only Center where two of its leaders have received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
- The Dingman Center was the first of 5 Centers chosen to receive the NASDAQ award for Center of Excellence in Entrepreneurship