Entrepreneurial Spirit / May 5, 2020

Dingman Center Takes Terp Startup Accelerator Cohort Virtual

Dingman Center Takes Terp Startup Accelerator Cohort Virtual

The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce that it has accepted 12 University of Maryland student and young alumni startups into its Terp Startup summer accelerator program. Launched in 2015 with just six startups in its first cohort, Terp Startup has grown to accommodate increased demand from student founders. The startups selected represent a range of sectors including drone delivery, esports, snack bars, physician wellness, fashion and beauty. Due to the impact of COVID-19, this year’s cohort will experience the accelerator in a virtual environment.

Applicants for the Terp Startup program undergo a rigorous application process in which they must demonstrate their startup's traction as well as their own entrepreneurial drive. The few accepted startup teams will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 and tailored workshops over an eight-week period in June and July.

This year’s cohort will experience a truly agile Terp Startup Accelerator experience, crafted to meet the virtual environment of the University over the summer. Teams will meet regularly with each other and the Dingman Center team, attend workshops led by leaders in the field, deep dive with dedicated mentors, hone their go to market strategy, and further build their businesses to be robust, impactful and profitable-- all online. The virtual format allows for more individual attention for each team, and builds the skills that these young entrepreneurs will need to thrive in an ever-changing world.

The Dingman Center’s managing director, Holly DeArmond, MBA ’17, spoke to her team’s optimism in finding a suitably interactive virtual approach to the program:

“Like many of our peers, we have spent a lot of time and energy determining how to shift our live accelerator program into a robust virtual experience,” said DeArmond. “While content will be delivered in a different format this summer, the goal remains the same. We will provide webinars, virtual advising appointments and strategic connections that will help these founders accelerate their startups.”

The Terp Startup program gives students access to a variety of venture creation workshops, ranging in topics from startup financing and go-to-market strategies to team-building and legal needs. Many of these workshops are led by successful alumni entrepreneurs, including Zeki Mokhtarzada ’00, Paul Capriolo ’06, James Fayal ’12 and more.

Members of past cohorts have graduated from the program and gone on to achieve success in business pitch competitions, including 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition winner Jasmine Snead ’17, MPP ’19, MBA ’21 of Aurora Tights. Terp Startup alumni are also eligible for the Terp Startup Fellows program, which grants additional resources and funding up to $20K as they continue working on their ventures at the Dingman Center.

This year's cohort is diverse in many ways, from founder backgrounds and startup industries:

Blimp Logistics

Camilo Melnyk ’21 (Aerospace Engineering)
Blimp Logistics provides a fast and robust drone delivery network for any business.

Crys&Co Beauty

Crystal Pinckney ’22 (Marketing, Information Systems)
Crys&Co Beauty supplies beauty products and services to individuals on campus who are not able to easily access them.

Door Robotics

Joshua Ermias ’20 (Kinesiology, Computer Science), Vincent Jaugan ’21 (Communication)
Door Robotics is at the intersection of drones, virtual reality, and photography, starting with a drone featuring an integrated virtual reality camera system.

ModBars, LLC

Jeff Su ’21 (Finance, Supply Chain), Wyatt Talcott ’21 (Letters and Sciences)
ModBars, LLC seeks to provide delicious, nutritious snack bars that tailor to every consumer’s dietary need or want.

Morning Light Esports

Harrison Burke ’20 (Communications)
Morning Light Esports funds competitive Esports teams to help them transition from semi-professional to full-time professional competitors while entertaining the public.


Jacques Marais ’20 (Architecture)
Munch provides users with an easy-to-use kit to grow a pound of microgreens a week from inside their home.

O•pal•es•cent Nails

Doyinsola Oladimeji-Stevens ’20 (Economics, International Relations)
O•pal•es•cent Nails provides affordable press-on nail looks for the booked, the busy, and bougie on a budget.


Mohil Gupta ’18, MS ’19 (Information Systems)
Spacers is a universal clip-on cushioned attachment for glasses that alleviates the discomfort of wearing over-the-ear headphones/helmets/outwear.


Caroline Ta ’21 (Marketing, Supply Chain)
SweetsbyCaroline provides bite-sized, gluten-free macarons that can be customized for parties and events.

The Sustainable Socialite

Sarah Lader ’20 (Family Science)
The Sustainable Socialite provides curated, unique, quality vintage, and vintage style fashion for affordable prices, while promoting sustainable shopping.


Sanketh Andhavarapu ’23 (Neuroeconomics), Veeraj Shah ’21 (Neurobiology, Physiology)
Vitalize is a mobile-based intervention that aims to reduce the chances of physician burnout by employing literature-backed wellness and resilience strategies in an engaging manner.

Wanderlust Wardrobe

Lucy Bedewi ’20 (Marketing)
Wanderlust Wardrobe is a personal style consultant that makes styling accessible to the average woman through an innovative pricing model.

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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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