COLLEGE PARK, Md., Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- University of Maryland alumni are getting help launching new businesses this year thanks to a new program from the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Dingman Jumpstart, an eight-week program that includes a boot camp weekend and two follow up sessions, employs the principles of the Lean LaunchPad methodology to help entrepreneurs increase their odds of building successful businesses.
Starting up "lean" is the push for entrepreneurs to test and innovate their business models to quickly determine whether an idea is viable. The first Dingman Jumpstart program kicked off January 9-11, 2015 with workshop topics such as using customer discovery to build a business model, customer segments and value proposition.
The Dingman Center enrolled a full class of 17 UMD alumni, including nine from the Smith School. Dingman Jumpstart is a revamped iteration of a Dingman Center program that formerly focused on current students. The new program fulfills a goal to expand startup help beyond the current student population.
"We are excited to bring alumni back to campus to help provide them the tools they need to start new businesses," said Elana Fine, managing director of the Dingman Center. "We are already using these methods with current students and now we can help former students discover entrepreneurship, regardless of whether they studied business while here."
On the instructor panel, Fine was joined by Dean Chang, UMD's associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship; Edmund Pendleton, director, VentureAccelerator, Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTech); and Ed Barrientos, serial entrepreneur and Dingman Center Entrepreneur in Residence.
The university's Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and MTech were key partners, as was the National Science Foundation-funded DC Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, a program to foster innovation in the region. Dingman Jumpstart is the university's first endeavor to bring the I-Corps curriculum to alumni.
Dingman Jumpstart participants will provide an update on their progress at a February check-in session. The group reconvenes in March for a final half-day to discuss lessons learned and help founders decided whether to proceed with their startup.
"This whole exercise is about validating if we have enough customer bases to give it that 'go' or 'no-go,'" said Seble Alemayehu, MBA '12, a Dingman Jumpstart participant working on idea for customizable fashion jewelry. "We are going to take all the exercises very seriously so that by the end of the eight weeks, at least we know if our idea is viable."
More information about Dingman Jumpstart is available at http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/centers-excellence/dingman-center-entrepreneurship/initiatives-programs/dingman-jumpstart.
About the 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, MS in business, 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.
Contact: Carrie Handwerker
SOURCE Robert H. Smith School of Business