Educate, Empower and Equip Student 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.
At the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, we create an inclusive environment where we educate, empower and equip students with the business skills needed to be an entrepreneur and the resources necessary to make their business ideas a reality.
Over 30 Years of Entrepreneurial Excellence
In 1986, late businessman and philanthropist Michael Dingman invited acting dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business Rudolph "Rudy" Lamone to his office in New York to hear his proposal for what would then become one of the first entrepreneurship centers in the country. Though the meeting was only scheduled for 30 minutes, Dingman gave Lamone two hours to deliver his full, impassioned vision for the center. In the end, Lamone’s inaugural “Pitch Dingman” moment culminated with Dingman promising him one million dollars on the spot, and another million if he could accomplish the center’s first-year plans. They both made good on their word. Now over 30 years later, Dingman’s generous gift has impacted the lives of thousands of entrepreneurs who have passed through the center.
- Through Dingman Center Angels (DCA), the center was the first of its kind to bring regional startup companies seeking early-stage funding to the angel investing community. DCA is the largest university-run angel investor network.
- 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 of five centers chosen to receive the NASDAQ Award for a center of excellence in entrepreneurship.
- It is the only center where two of its leaders have received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.