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Two Entrepreneur Teams Win Business Model Challenge

May 14, 2013
Contacts: 

Eric Schurr 301-405-3889

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) has named two UMD teams as winners of the inaugural University of Maryland Business Model Challenge.

The two entrepreneur teams were selected from among 44 initial entries and 11 finalist teams, six of whom were selected to present the results they achieved through the Challenge's multi-week lean startup workshop to an expert panel of judges at UMD.

Chase Kaczmarek, undergraduate student, management and entrepreneurshipAll 11 finalists received $3,000 for completing the Challenge workshop, through which teams defined their business model, assessed the product/market fit for their technology, got feedback from at least 25 potential customers, then refined their product and business model based upon that feedback.

The two teams showing the best results, progress and potential, winning an additional $5,000 each (plus $3K for completing the Challenge), included:

  • Wheel Shields: developing a skateboarding accessory that solves "wheel bite" (a dangerous safety problem), keeps riders dry and allows riders to stand over their wheels. Team: Chase Kaczmarek, undergraduate student, management and entrepreneurship (pictured above).
  • UMDTutor2Go: developing an online system to provide students with private, online tutoring via Skype, live instant messaging chats and audio broadcasts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Team: Chandra Smith, undergraduate student, psychology, human development, and technology entrepreneurship; Changudra Smith, undergraduate student, finance, marketing, and technology entrepreneurship (pictured below with Carolyn Karlson, director of the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program.)

Chandra Smith, undergraduate student, Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, psychology, human development, and technology entrepreneurship; Changudra Smith, undergraduate student, Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, finance, marketing, and technology entrepreneurship; and Carolyn Karlson, director of the Hillman Entrepreneurs ProgramLed and managed by Mtech, a unit of UMD's A. James Clark School of Engineering, the UMD Business Model Challenge encourages students, faculty, researchers, staff and recent alumni at UMD and University of Maryland, Baltimore to leverage their talent and ideas to create tomorrow's leading companies. The competition process, its mentors, partners and cash prizes have helped many students, faculty and researchers build their own companies.

The competition historically has spurred the commercialization of university technologies and served as a launch pad for multi-million-dollar companies, including AnthroTronix, RioRey, Alertus Technologies, Squarespace and Lurn.