Entrepreneurial Spirit / July 23, 2021

Student Entrepreneurs Show Off at Terp Startup Accelerator

This summer, everyone has tried to beat the heat. But at UMD, student entrepreneurs have been hard at work showing how their ventures are just beginning to heat up.

On Thursday, Maryland Smith’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its 7th annual Terp Startup Accelerator event, in which 16 student teams pitched their business ventures to an audience of students, faculty, staff and esteemed guests.

Terp startup logos“To our cohort, we are so proud of the progress you all have made this summer with your ventures and can’t wait for you to showcase your pitches,” Sara Herald, director of venture development at the Dingman Center, said during the event. “We also thank the other members of the Dingman Center team who support this program with their time and expertise, as well as our community members who give to this program with their time and treasure.”

During the event, the teams were divided by industry into three breakout rooms – financial tech, consumer goods, and tech or tech-enabled. Attendees selected their preferred rooms and listened to 8-minute pitches and participated in Q&A sessions.

There were sessions and workshops, led by 55 people who served as office hours advisors and team coaches. The program was also supported by Matt and Meaghan Fishlinger, David and Robyn Quattrone, Bill Boyle, Kathryn Stewart, and Keith and Allison Sullivan.

Every summer, the Terp Startup Accelerator program assists student entrepreneurs in laying the foundation and growing their business ventures, in an event that serves as a sort of internship for entrepreneurs. The program, which takes place over the course of eight weeks, connects the qualified student teams with faculty and industry mentors, offers access to exclusive workshops and provides a cash stipend of up to $5,000.

At the end of the program, the startups are able to apply as Terp Startup fellows for the upcoming semester and continue leveraging valuable resources and non-dilutive funding.

Xiohui “Sophie” Li, MBA ’21, is co-founder of MARS Technology, which seeks to reduce global warming through its commercialization of methane conversion technology. She says the program has had a great influence on her startup and has helped her navigate the early stages of entrepreneurship.

“The Dingman Center has introduced many area experts and successful entrepreneurs to me,” Li said in a blog post. “The journey through different programs makes me understand the entrepreneur path, structure my startup in a concrete way – it even improved my project-management skills and self-awareness.”

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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.

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