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Hinman CEOs Alumnus Launches Seed Fund for Student Startups
Students starting companies in the University of Maryland’s award-wining Hinman CEOs Program will now have access to seed funding, thanks to alumnus Anik Singal, who will launch the fund today.
Singal will announce the Hinman CEOs Alumni Fund in conjunction with other Hinman alumni at the University of Maryland at 5 p.m. today. Singal, who graduated from the university in 2005, is launching the fund through a gift of $50,000.
“As entrepreneurial undergraduates pursue venture creation, they face challenges in raising sufficient funding to pursue their ideas,” says Singal, founder of Affiliate Classroom, a step-by-step training program to help people launch and grow affiliate Internet businesses. “This fund is designed to meet the needs of these creative and innovative students.”
Singal will take a lead role as founding chairman of the Hinman CEOs Alumni Fund advisory board. Today he will also announce the Hinman Alumni Challenge Campaign aimed at inspiring other alumni to manage and contribute to the fund.
“Combined with Mtech’s many entrepreneurship offerings like the Technology Startup Boot Camp, the $50K Business Plan Competition, monthly Entrepreneur Office Hours, the VentureAccelerator, and the TAP incubator, Anik’s seed fund now clears many of the major hurdles standing in the way of students trying to launch technology-based businesses,” says Dean Chang, director of entrepreneurship and venture creation for the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), which manages the Hinman CEOs Program. “What’s even more special is that Anik is a product of all those entrepreneurship offerings here at the University of Maryland and saw a way he could help clear one of the last remaining hurdles with a seed fund. And like a true entrepreneur, he went and did something about it.”
Students can apply for funding, available in increments of $500 to $5,000, by writing a business plan. A committee comprised of Hinman alumni and Mtech senior staff will evaluate each proposal. Applicants may be asked to present their ideas to the committee. Funding recipients will be selected based upon each business plan’s value proposition, as well as its probability of success within a reasonable timeframe.
The committee will provide feedback to all student teams regardless of the decision. Students may apply again.
Mtech staff will mentor each winning company and oversee the use of funding. Hinman alumni may assist companies and provide professional networks.
Approved funding uses include, but are not limited to, expenses relating to legal work for company formation, patents, licensing, contracts, and other legal needs, as well as marketing costs for research or advertising the proposed product or service.
Hinman students also have access to the $250,000 Impact Pre-Seed Fund, which started in fall 2007 through a donation by Solypsis Co-Founder Warren Citrin. The Impact Pre-Seed Fund offers grants, in $500 to $5,000 increments, to students in Mtech’s Hinman CEOs and Hillman Entrepreneurs programs who present business plans for new companies that benefit society.
This gift is part of Great Expectations: the Campaign for Maryland, a seven-year, $1 billion campaign, raising private funds to support students, recruit and retain faculty, enhance physical facilities and library and technology resources, and reinforce excellence and innovation in academic programs.
April 17, 2008