Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute

June 26, 2003

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Dr. David Barbe is a pioneer. His goals are lofty—change the culture of the University of Maryland and make the entire region a national leader in technology entrepreneurship.

Indications are he's succeeding. Barbe was recognized on Tuesday with the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator Award for 2003. The national award, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is given for leadership and innovation in engineering and high-technology entrepreneurship education.

"We're creating an 'I can' culture for technology entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland," said Barbe. "We want faculty and students here to know that if they're developing great technologies, we've got the infrastructure in place to help them build companies around their innovations."

As executive director of the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH), Barbe has spurred entrepreneurship education through nearly every rank at the university.

"Dr. Barbe was the clear winner of the award," said Angus Kingon, the entrepreneurship division chair for ASEE. "He has been the driving force behind the establishment of a suite of entrepreneurship programs at the University of Maryland. He is probably most recognized for the innovative Hinman CEOs program, but has also had a broad impact with the technology venture club, technology start-up boot camp, business plan competition, technology venture accelerator, and his graduate courses. He is a most deserving winner of this first award."

Barbe led the initiation the Hinman CEOs Program, the nation's first living-learning, cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship initiative for undergraduate students, in 2000. That program, in just its third year, has already served as the springboard for an average of 20 new, student-driven companies per year. One CEOs company generated nearly $250,000 in revenue last year, while another brought in $95,000 in research grants to develop its product.

The CEOs' incubator-like living environment, chock full of business amenities such as a high-tech business center and conference rooms, is coupled with weekly seminars, group projects and mentors from the regional entrepreneurship community to give students a dynamic environment for generating ideas, networking, and bringing their dreams to fruition.

Other institutions have taken notice. Johns Hopkins University, Iowa State University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Clarkson University have all sent teams to Maryland just to study the CEOs program. The program was also named the leading entrepreneurship program in the country last year, netting the prestigious Price Institute Innovative Entrepreneurship Educators Award during the Roundtable on Entrepreneurship Education for Engineers at Stanford University.

Barbe's programs extend well beyond undergraduates. Under his leadership, a myriad of initiatives have been launched to educate the entire university about technology entrepreneurship:

  • The Technology Start-Up Boot Camp: a yearly conference on starting a company for faculty and students, taught by professionals from the regional and national business and legal communities.

  • The University of Maryland Business Plan Competition: an annual contest, now in its third year, awarding up to $50,000 to students and recent alumni generating the best plans for a new company. Past winners include Chesapeake PERL, Terplicators, and AnthroTronix.

  • The Technology Ventures Club: a venue for graduate students in technical disciplines to explore technology entrepreneurship and commercialization; the club includes a speaker series, networking events and student presentations.

  • Fundamentals of Technology Start-Up Ventures: the first course at the university geared towards graduate students in technical disciplines, bringing in entrepreneurs, business professionals and legal experts to teach students how to start their own companies and commercialize their technologies.

  • VentureAccelerator Program: offers intense, one-on-one mentoring for incubator companies, university faculty and graduate students—in entrepreneurial areas such as legal matters, fundraising, executive recruitment, sales and marketing strategy, forecasting and business plan preparation.

"Under the leadership of Dr. Barbe, our programs are recognized as being among the most dynamic, complete, innovative and well-run technology entrepreneurship programs in the nation," said Nariman Farvardin, dean of the Clark School. "The establishment of a portfolio of successful technology entrepreneurship programs involving faculty as well as graduate and undergraduate students is rapidly creating a strong culture of entrepreneurship in our university which, I am sure, will have a profound positive impact in the economy of our region and nation in the years to come."

Criteria for the ASEE Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator Award included number of students involved, innovation, sustained support, assessed impact of the program/courses, and interdisciplinary focus.





Eric Schurr
(301) 405-3889

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