After hosting nearly a decade of “Shark Tank”-style student pitch competitions, the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is expanding its annual Pitch Dingman Competition to include other University System of Maryland entrepreneurs.
This year, the Dingman Center has introduced a fourth track to its signature competition, as a trial run for a larger competition in the future. This pilot will include students from nearby schools with similar pitch competitions: Bowie State University, the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
“The first couple years after graduation are so hard for entrepreneurs, and we’re really excited for this chance to support entrepreneurial students not just in College Park, but in our Maryland community as a whole,” said Lottie Byram, assistant director of community programs at the Dingman Center. “It will be a lot of fun to see who wins (go Terps!), but ultimately, it's about bringing Maryland schools together to celebrate and support our most dedicated young hustlers.”
The Dingman Center has allocated additional funding this year to add a $10,000 prize for the winner of the USM All Stars Track, bringing the total prizes for the competition up to over $100,000. A majority of the prize money comes from a generous donation from David MBA ’05 and Robyn Quattrone, among other sponsors. David Quattrone, chief technology officer and co-founder of Cvent, also chairs the Board of Advisors at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.
“This expansion of our signature pitch competition marks an exciting moment of growth for our Center,” said Tsega Belachew, director for venture development and acting managing director. “By expanding our impact to the broader community, we are making progress toward our strategic vision to equip, empower and educate student entrepreneurs while strengthening inclusive entrepreneurship and extending our impact as a knowledge hub within the Maryland entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
The Dingman Center will continue to offer three tracks from previous years. The Grand Prize winners from the David and Robyn Quattrone Tech Venture Track, for tech or tech-enabled ventures, and the Main Street Track, for small businesses with less of a focus on scale, will win $30,000 and $20,000, respectively. The Idea Track, offering $5,000 in total prize money, will remain in place for students interested in entrepreneurship who haven’t yet begun executing on a venture idea.
The competition is open to all current University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students from any college or major, as well as any students who graduated in Winter 2022. Applications are due Feb. 5.
This effort exemplifies two guiding principles of the Smith School’s Strategic Plan: “Everybody’s Business” – delivering accessible business education to all students and “Creating Integrated and interdisciplinary Opportunities for Research and Learning.” The plan’s pillars – Reimagining Learning Curricula & Programs and Addressing Grand Challenges, are also at play in the competition.
Pitch Dingman Competition 2023 finals will take place on April 18 at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center.
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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.