COLLEGE PARK, Md., Oct. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- University of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is expanding its annual Cupid's Cup Business Competition to find the country's top student entrepreneurs. Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, partnered with the Dingman Center eight years ago to launch Cupid's Cup and is now taking the competition to a national stage for the first time. Applicants will compete for a transformative prize package including $70,000 in cash prizes, coaching from a team of successful entrepreneurs, in kind services from leading edge companies and the prestigious Cupid's Cup. In an added twist, Plank will grant the 2013 grand prize winner exclusive access to a member of his professional network.
"I'm looking to identify and reward students who have the entrepreneurial drive and conviction to take the risk to start a business," Plank said. "The University of Maryland has proven to be incredibly fertile ground for talented entrepreneurs, and I am excited to expand our search and to share this inspiring program with passionate students across the country. We look forward to providing the next Cupid's Cup winner with critical funding and a networking opportunity that we hope will propel their startup to the next level."
Finalists will pitch their businesses to Plank and a panel of judges in front of more than 1,000 attendees at the final round competition on Friday, April 5, 2013, at the University of Maryland's College Park campus. The day's events will also include a business and innovation showcase highlighting campus and regional startups.
The Dingman Center, part of the Robert H. Smith School of Business, has a more than 25-year history of providing university students with practical experiences and opportunities to pitch their business ideas, receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and access to funding. Cupid's Cup is named for a rose delivery business Plank started as a student at the university. As an athlete, he wasn't permitted to have an outside job, so he turned to entrepreneurship. Plank worked with the Dingman Center to start a business competition to foster similar student entrepreneurship.
"As an institution, we're committed to giving all students the opportunity to experiment with the entrepreneurial process," said G. "Anand" Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. "We're excited to spread that commitment beyond our campus. Cupid's Cup gives student entrepreneurs from around the country access to invaluable mentoring and funding, and it also provides a remarkable educational experience in what it takes to build a business."
The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at accredited U.S. colleges and universities who are running companies that have generated at least $5,000 in revenue or are a legal business entity with proof of traction. The applicant pool will be narrowed to five finalists in a semifinal competition round. The finalists will receive intensive coaching from successful alumni entrepreneurs from their home university to prepare for the final competition.
Applications for the 2013 Cupid's Cup competition will be accepted November 5, 2012 through February 1, 2013. More information is available at www.cupidscup.com.
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. Key programs for University of Maryland students include Pitch Dingman, weekly walk-in sessions to pitch business ideas to experienced entrepreneurs for feedback, Cupid's Cup, an annual business competition sponsored by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, and the China Business Plan Competition, an annual competition and global studies trip in partnership with Peking University. Within the region, the Center operates Dingman Center Angels, the area's most active angel investor network with more than 40 members and 30 companies funded since 2005. More information is available at www.rhsmith.umd.edu/dingman.
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, executive MS, 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. More information is available at http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/.
Contact: Greg Muraski
SOURCE University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business