News at Smith

Innovation Fridays: Conversations on Entrepreneurship

Feb 04, 2013
Entrepreneurial Spirit


Welcome to Innovation Fridays

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Maybe we should back up and start by pinpointing just what it does take to be an entrepreneur, especially one starting up in the Washington region. To find out, we went straight to the experts.

Dan Beyers, editor of the Washington Post’s Capital Business, sat down with experts from the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith. Dingman Center Managing Director Elana Fine and veteran investors and entrepreneurs-in-residence Ed Barrientos and Jason Shrensky mulled over the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

The consensus:

  • Courage - “It is a very risky, scary thing,” says Barrientos. “There are no knowns, there’s no real clear path.”
  • Confidence – “Sometimes the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that listen to no one,” says Fine.
  • Openness to advice – “What’s going to separate the guys who win from the guys who don’t, is the ones who know which advice to take and know which not to take,” says Shrensky.

Barrientos currently manages an angel investment firm and heads Brazen Careerist, a career focused social networking site targeting Gen Y. Shrensky is an active angel investor and also splits his time between two startups he co-founded: ÜberOffices, a co-working office space in Arlington, Va., and enterprise software developer ComplexInterests. Before heading up the Dingman Center, Fine was a venture investor and advisor as vice president of Revolution Partner, an investment bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions and private capital advisory for the tech industry.

This is the first of three podcast installments capturing the group’s full conversation.

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 masters, 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.