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UMD's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Named Finalist for National Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards

UMD's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Named Finalist for National Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP), an honors living-learning entrepreneurship initiative at the University of Maryland, has been named a national finalist for the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards in the Outstanding Emerging Program category, university officials announce today.

A joint program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) and The Honors College, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program was acknowledged as an "exemplary emerging initiative reflecting innovation, quality, potential viability, comprehensiveness, depth of support, sustainability, and impact."

"We are honored to be recognized as a leading new player in entrepreneurship education by USASBE, one of the most important organizations in the nation for supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses," says EIP Director Jay Smith. "We are committed to building a model program to spur entrepreneurship and innovation, two of the key economic development drivers for creating jobs and bringing new products to market. For students, entrepreneurship is a fantastic vehicle for self-expression and self-actualization, giving them a chance them to pursue their dreams while creating value for society."

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is a two-year, living-learning initiative for University of Maryland Honors College freshmen and sophomores. The program combines challenging academics, experiential learning, and a community-living environment to help develop students' skills in opportunity discovery, creativity, innovation, and business creation.

All students live together for two years in a specially designated residence hall, where program offices are also located, creating a vibrant, incubator-like setting and dynamic atmosphere conducive to the free-flowing sharing of ideas, team-building and entrepreneurial activity.

EIP students complete 16 credits for the program citation. Courses feature both traditional and experiential learning, with a focus on entrepreneurship fundamentals, leadership, teamwork, personal development, contemporary issues and opportunities for innovation, international aspects of entrepreneurship, and, as a capstone, development of for-profit business concepts with social impact.

The program also provides co-curricular support through a variety of activities, coaching and mentoring, start-up brainstorming sessions and feedback meetings, access to seed funding, a $75K Business Plan Competition, legal services and internship opportunities.

EIP serves 140 freshmen and sophomore students in the University of Maryland Honors College each year. These students are among the highest academic performers at the university from a wide variety of majors, including business, engineering, the sciences, mathematics, agriculture, linguistics, government, and the humanities. One-third of EIP students are women and more than 42 percent identify themselves as not Caucasian.

EIP was selected from a record 47 entries for the USASBE award. Of those, just 11 nominations in six different categories moved on to the finalist round. Finals for the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards will be held at the 2012 USASBE Conference in New Orleans, from January 11-15.

USASBE,the leading voice in entrepreneurship research, teaching, and application, with over 1,000 members across the world, established the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards to recognize excellence in entrepreneurship education at the programmatic level. Each is awarded on a competitive basis, with only one institution winning in each category during a given year.

November 25, 2011

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