University students at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) campus and other individuals locally who are interested in launching a new business venture will be able to participate this fall as teams in USG’s new “Equity Incubator,” a supportive entrepreneurship boot camp program for women and minorities. The program is operated by the USG Lab for Entrepreneurship and Transformative Leadership.

The eight-week program – which will culminate with an entrepreneurial pitch competition and the chance for the winning team to secure a $10,000 award to help in launching a business.

Five prospective entrepreneurship teams will participate in the boot camp. Each will be provided with $3,000 to help augment the launch of their start-up ventures, will participate in a weekly seminar, and will be grouped with a professional mentor who they will also meet with each week. On December 7, the teams will participate in a pitch competition and the opportunity to earn an additional $10,000 award to help in launching their business.

This boot camp is particularly well-suited for aspiring women and minority entrepreneurs with a new venture or who may want to further develop their idea, entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level, or those looking to grow their entrepreneurial mindset to innovate in their current role.

Participants will gain entrepreneurial skills and techniques that will improve their venture’s chances of success and build a network of contacts in Montgomery County that they can turn to for advice and support. Attendees will learn the art of customer discovery, opportunity recognition, the entrepreneurial mindset, design thinking, business modeling, how to be bankable, personal selling, marketing, pitching, and more. Each participating team will go from concept to actually launching a business by the end of the eight-week course, and all of the business concepts are expected to have a social impact bent to them.

The Equity Incubator is made possible in part due to a MoCo Economic Development Grant for Nonprofits through the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC).

The Entrepreneurship Lab at USG was founded through a grant from the David and Mikel Blair Family Foundation. For more information about the entrepreneurship boot camp or the Entrepreneurship Lab at USG, contact Katherine Zmoda at kzmoda@umd.edu or 301-738-6002.