Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute




The success of the University of Maryland's entrepreneurship programs drew invitations to 35 students from the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) to visit the White House yesterday as part of the "I Am an Entrepreneur" event.

Sponsored by the Young Entrepreneur Council and MTV, the event served as a platform for more than 150 aspiring and current entrepreneurs from universities across the country to learn from successful young entrepreneurs. YEC founder Scott Gerber kicked off the event, while MTV's Sway Calloway moderated a series of panels featuring business leaders and entrepreneurs such as Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Dina Kaplan, co-founder of blip.tv.

"This was the most inspiring entrepreneurship-related event I have been to," said EIP student and marketing and psychology major Melinda Pandiangan. "The sheer amount of wealth and talent they had packed into one room made everyone want to go out and do something, not just talk about it. They gave you the impression that anything really was possible."

EIP student and electrical engineering major Shrey Tarpara, who is in the early stages of starting a company, found the event especially valuable. "It gave me the chance to meet entrepreneurs and learn from their successes and their mistakes," said Tarpara. "A lot of us young entrepreneurs have so many questions about even the smallest things and they were able to answer them for us."

Students also recognized the White House's support for the event.

"During a time when people are losing faith in government, it is reassuring to know that the administration recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship in growing the economy and creating new jobs," said EIP student and computer science and finance major Raja Ayyagari. "The advice from the speakers was realistic and appropriate. They demonstrated that starting a company is a practical and reachable goal for college youth."

Students gained direct access to entrepreneurs during networking time after the event. "They were amazingly open and approachable," said Pandiangan. "You could ask them questions about their personal lives and how they balance things. It was both humbling and encouraging."

Students attending from EIP included: Raja Ayyagari, Sara Bleistein, Christopher Bohlman, Alex Chepkoit, Kyle Dailey, Lindsay Djuhadi, Pratik Gandhi, Benjamin Gelinas, Stephen Gheysens, Pamela Gorgei, Stephanie Graf, Zachary Hutcheson, George Kemp, Vasudha Kowtha, Micaela Larson, Zachary Lenkiewicz, Ningwei Li, Sara McVeigh, Allan Nicholas, Isaura Romero, Daniel Pacious, Melinda Pandiangan, Vinod Pinto, Pavan Rangachar, Alma Rashid, Matthew Richardson, Eliza Roberts, Meredith Russell, Rebecca Salzman, Neel Sanghvi, Ashmi Sheth, Shrey Tarpara, Geoffrey Wang, Jazmyn White, Whitney Wilson.

Students were accompanied by EIP Director Jay Smith and EIP Coordinator Jaclin Warner.

"Entrepreneurship is baked into our DNA," said Ronnie Cho, the White House's associate director for the office of public engagement. "It is a proud tradition we have in this country. It is my belief the folks in this room, this generation, will unleash innovations, launch companies that will change the world."

View photos of EIP students at the "I Am an Entrepreneur" event here: http://bit.ly/uKsiyk

Watch the official White House video of the event here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2uY9JK8n-Q


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