Entrepreneurial Spirit / January 9, 2007

Be an Angel Investor: Dingman Center Expands Capital Access Network

The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is growing its Capital Access Network (CAN) program, which provides open and efficient access to early-stage capital for entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

The program enables active, accredited angel investors to connect with entrepreneurs of start-up companies through a well executed screening process. Angel investors in the program only invest in opportunities that match their individual investment criteria and interest. Angels invest for a variety of reasons: desire to give back to their community, enjoy working with entrepreneurs, want to build companies with fellow angels, passionate about starting businesses, or are looking for superior ROI. Individual investments vary depending on the opportunity.

"Under new full-time professional management, the CAN program has seen a triple fold increase in deal flow, brought some of the highest quality deals in the region to its investors through a finely tuned screening process, and expects to see multiple investments this year," said Melissa Carrier, associate director for the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and manager of CAN. "The program also benefits entrepreneurs who receive expert coaching in delivering investor-quality presentations. New this year, Smith students are able to participate in the coaching sessions for real-world exposure to the venture financing world."

As an example of a success story, the network assisted a local start up, eXpert Technology Solutions (XTS), which provides turnkey business intelligence reporting to track access to corporate computer systems, in securing $50,000 in matching funds from Maryland DBED in June 2005. After securing the DBED funding the company also obtained another $200,000 from an early-stage investor.

We came to the Dingman Center and got great feedback and help refining our business plan, said Eric Spiegel, XTS CEO. After the Dingman Center introduced us to DBED things really started rolling. Id encourage any local entrepreneur to take advantage of the resources offered by CAN as a key first step in turning a business idea into a reality.

The commitment from the regional investment and venture capital community in targeting the network for involvement has been great, said Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

As one of the first and leading entrepreneurial centers in the nation, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs by facilitating, supporting and guiding new enterprise growth in the mid-Atlantic region through professional services, academic programming and outreach alliances and events.

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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 flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, 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.

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