Mtech, Dingman Center Launch Innovation Fridays

Entrepreneurs and innovators at the University of Maryland no longer have far to go for help.

The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship are launching Innovation Fridays, a collection of signature resources now available across the entire campus for entrepreneurs and innovators.

Innovation Fridays combines the Dingman Center’s successful Pitch Dingman program with Mtech's broad-reaching Innovation Office Hours and Entrepreneur Office Hours. Both programs will be available from 11 a.m.-1p.m. every Friday throughout the year. A full schedule of locations is available at

"Innovation Fridays builds on five years of Pitch Dingman and five years of Entrepreneur Office Hours, two programs that have helped thousands of budding student, faculty, and regional entrepreneurs," said Dean Chang, director of Mtech's Venture Programs, in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, and Elana Fine, managing director of the Dingman Center in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, in a joint statement. "We are now linking those signature programs together to ensure that anyone on campus seeking help with making their ideas a reality can get assistance each and every Friday at multiple locations across campus." 

Innovation Fridays aligns with UMD's growing commitment to creating a university-wide culture of entrepreneurship and its strategic priority of creating 100 new companies over the next decade.

Resources available during Innovation Fridays include:

Pitch Dingman: pitch your ideas to experts in an informal setting

Serving more than 200 entrepreneurs annually, Pitch Dingman features weekly informal sessions where UMD students can pitch their ideas to Entrepreneurs in Residence.

No written business plans or PowerPoint Presentations are needed. Students give a short (3-5 minute) pitch or a persuasive overview of their idea and Dingman experts provide actionable feedback. Students who already own and run established businesses are encouraged to come to the Pitch Dingman sessions for more advanced advice on how best to position their business for future success.

Twice a semester, students can compete for $2,750 in start-up funding at the Pitch Dingman Competition. Everyone is welcome to attend Pitch Dingman Competitions as an audience member and there is no need to register.

Innovation Office Hours: share and brainstorm your ideas with experts 1-on-1

Serving over 1,000 current or aspiring entrepreneurs since fall 2007, Innovation Office Hours (expanded from Entrepreneur Office Hours) features experts offering free advice, one-on-one, on any topic related to entrepreneurship or innovation (including research) at locations across the University of Maryland campus.

Every business starts as a single idea about how to make the world better. Students and faculty can take the first step toward bringing their ideas or research into the commercial sphere and/or start their own companies. They will learn from experienced entrepreneurs 1-on-1 every Friday, where they can refine their business ideas, test market demand, receive free and impartial advice, brainstorm business strategies, investigate funding opportunities and learn about resources available to researchers and entrepreneurs.

Eric Rosenberg, founder of 512 Technology, a company whose Route Rider mobile app allows anyone to instantly look up exactly how many minutes until the next Shuttle-UM bus arrives at any stop on or off campus, has taken advantage of both Pitch Dingman and Entrepreneur Office Hours. Because of UMD’s diverse entrepreneurial mentoring and funding network, UMD students, commuters, and visitors using Route Rider can now avoid waiting countless minutes in the cold and rain at Shuttle-UM bus stops.

"Going to Pitch Dingman and Entrepreneur Office Hours was the very first thing I did,” said Rosenberg. “It was there that I first learned about all of the great resources available for entrepreneurs at the university. I was there almost every week. I met with the experts and mentors at both Dingman and Mtech to talk about nearly every aspect of my company. It has been awesome to have this mentorship. They've gone through many of the same problems we are going through. They can steer you through those pitfalls. It's been incredibly helpful."

For a full schedule of Innovation Fridays times and locations, visit

Published October 22, 2012