Blockchain technology has gained prominence in recent years with the rise of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), but its potential to impact the business world has yet to be fully realized. This impact will touch existing enterprises and propel the launch of many new businesses as well. That’s where Maryland Smith comes in.
The Supply Chain Management Center and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business are teaming up to create the Maryland Smith Blockchain Accelerator.
The initiative – a 45-day virtual program – sits at the intersection of venture capital and blockchain. It aims to assist early-stage companies that are building apps leveraging blockchain technology. The accelerator provides them with content and mentorship and culminates with a Demo Day event where the participants can present their progress to investors.
Through the accelerator, participants will have access to the FounderTrac virtual accelerator – an online collaborative company building platform. Over the 45-day period, participants will work closely with industry experts, founders and executives across computer science, engineering and business through group coaching and “Ask Me Anything” sessions. Additionally, the program will provide access to the Founder Focus Assessment algorithm with startup risk readout, as well as the ‘Sherpa’ mentoring and advisory network.
“It is great to see UMD emerging as a leader in the blockchain space, and we are excited to support this initiative with the FounderTrac platform,” FounderTrac co-founder Ryan Sears said.
The program sees participating startups showcasing their progress and pitching their business models to the Dingman Center Angel Group and other attending venture capitalists during a virtual Demo Day.
“The Dingman Center Angels is one of the region’s most active investor networks,” says Holly DeArmond, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. “Partnering on this blockchain accelerator will allow us to build a pipeline of strong, investment-ready companies for our investors while also providing the accelerator participants with connections to active angels at the Demo Day.”
The accelerator represents Maryland Smith’s latest blockchain initiative and complements the Blockchain Business Imperative – a six-week synchronous online certificate program, which began in January. It explores blockchain technology and its potential economic impact across industries – by putting classroom concepts and materials into action.
“The application of blockchain technology to business and society can have international and generational impact,” says Juan Acosta, a 2023 MBA candidate who has been working on the accelerator’s launch.
Dean Prabhudev Konana, speaking last year at Smith Day, expressed his enthusiasm for the full suite of offerings from Maryland Smith's Office of Executive Education, including the Blockchain Business Imperative.
"Smith faculty are eager to engage with alumni and professionals across industries with these new open enrollment programs," he said.
Applications to participate in the accelerator are now open until Feb. 21 with final selections made by March 7. The blockchain accelerator officially begins on March 16.
Learn more about the Maryland Smith Blockchain Accelerator and how to apply.
- Prabhudev Konana
- Jeffrey Mund
- Holly DeArmond
- Maryland Smith Blockchain Accelerator
- World Class Faculty & Research
- Executive Education
- Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
- Supply Chain Management Center
- Decision, Operations and Information Technologies
- Logistics, Business and Public Policy
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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.