The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Contributions to Venture Acceleration. The award was presented at the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Florida, Oct. 29-31.
This award honors a center that creatively supports the process of accelerating startups through 1) competitions, 2) incubators, or 3) accelerators. The Dingman Center was selected for its Fearless Founders Accelerator with the mission of providing student entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to develop their business ideas and successfully launch their businesses. Fearless Founders was created to scale current programs and provide a more formal process to guide student entrepreneur teams from idea to launch. Since launching Fearless Founders, more than 170 aspiring UMD entrepreneurs have participated in the Accelerator. These student entrepreneurs have worked on 136 ventures and received more than $100,000 in funding to support the development of their businesses.
“Three years ago we set out to develop a unique accelerator program that would uniquely leverage the assets of the Dingman Center, Smith School and lean startup methodologies,” said Elana Fine, managing director of the Dingman Center. “This award, along with the 170 students we have guided through this program, validates the merits of this innovative program.”
The GCEC provides for collaboration and communication on specific issues and challenges confronting university-based entrepreneurship centers. Each year in October, a global conference is held on the campus of a GCEC member school. This year’s conference drew more than 300 delegates from 17 countries, 42 states and 212 colleges, universities and schools.
Rudy Lamone, former Smith School dean and founder of the Dingman Center, co-founded the GCEC in 1996 with Don Kuratko, director of the Johnson Center of Entrepreneurship at Indiana University and Tom O'Malia, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Entrepreneurship, USC Marshall School of Business.
About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship education and practice for more than 25 years. The Center’s primary activities include helping students build their ventures, creating experiential learning opportunities and providing regional entrepreneurs with access to capital. Within the region, the Center operates Dingman Center Angels, the area’s most active angel investor network with more than 40 members and 50 companies funded since 2005.
About the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC)
The Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC), formerly the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (NCEC), was founded in 1996. The intent of the organization is to provide a coordinated vehicle through which participating members can collaborate and communicate on the specific issues and challenges confronting university-based entrepreneurship centers. The GCEC current membership totals 200+ university-based entrepreneurship centers ranging in age from well-established and nationally ranked to new and emerging centers.
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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 part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty 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.