A Place for UMBC Entrepreneurs

Achsah Joseph, ’12, Interdisciplinary Studies and Media & Communication Studies, is a Communications Specialist with UMBC’s Office of Institutional Advancement

Achsah JosephIn my sophomore year at UMBC, I took POLI 205: Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship. Through the class, I worked with a group of students to find out a way to promote civic engagement and human rights issues at UMBC. As we put together a proposal, we struggled to find a place to meet in order to discuss and improve our ideas. The Commons was too noisy, the library was too crowded and classrooms were always in use. We needed a place that would allow us to work on our project but also let us interact with like-minded people with whom we could share ideas, receive feedback and refine our plans.

That space didn’t exist then, but it does now. In February, the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship opened the Entre-space, a place for students across all disciplines to gather and work in an entrepreneurial environment. At the grand opening, students shared their stories, projects and vision for the space. There was even an announcement on a white board—a student already utilizing the room to ask for help with his project. Located in the Academic Services Building (old Theater), Room 139, Entre-space plans to host workshops on topics such as starting a business and pitching stories to the media. Members of the entrepreneurship faculty and business community will also use the space to hold office hours, offering mentoring and guidance to students.

George Karbatis, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Director of UMBC's Entrepreneurship & Innovation Minor, speaks at the Entre-space opening.

George Karbatis, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Director of UMBC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Minor, speaks at the Entre-space opening.

At the opening, I spoke to Vivian Armor, director of the Alex. Brown Center, who said, “Entre-space will help create a sense of community among students interested in entrepreneurship on campus.  It will be a place where they can network, learn and develop their business ideas.  It’s exciting to think about what might result from having this space available to students on campus!”

For as long as I have been here, UMBC has encouraged students to take ownership in their campus, sponsoring classes like POLI 205 and contests like Prove It! and the Idea Competition. That’s one of the many reasons I was excited to come back to UMBC as a staff member after spending a year abroad following graduation. The Entre-space supports this spirit of ownership by offering a meeting place and resources for students to work on their ideas and in doing so, better our campus and community.

Contact the author, Achsah Joseph, at achsah1@umbc.edu.

Entre-Space Grand Opening (2/26)

EntreSpaceYou’re invited to the Entre-space grand opening on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 12-1pm in the Academic Services Building (old Theater building), Suite 139!

Come see the space and meet entrepreneurial students and faculty. Light refreshments will be served.

Entre-space is a unique and inviting place in the heart of the UMBC campus where any student can have access to an entrepreneurial environment.  It’s a place where students can:
  • Share and work on innovative ideas/projects with fellow students
  • Network with students from other disciplines who can give them the expertise they need
  • Meet and talk with practicing entrepreneurs to get advice and mentoring
  • Attend short workshops to learn more about starting a business
  • Engage in an environment of active learning at UMBC

Connecting Students and Startups: A Profile

Jenny O'GradyJenny O’Grady is UMBC’s new director of marketing. She previously served at director of alumni and development communications at UMBC.

UMBC alumnus Greg Cangialosi ’96, English, is a tech entrepreneur who seems so ahead of the curve that following him on Twitter feels like time travel. But that’s not what I find most striking about him. I’m inspired by the way Cangialosi defines “success” for himself and how he’s worked to build new connections throughout the UMBC community—connections with impact.

After graduating from UMBC in 1996, Cangialosi launched Baltimore-based email service provider Blue Sky Factory. In 2010, Baltimore SmartCEO magazine recognized the company as one of the 50 fastest-growing in Greater Baltimore. The company also made the INC 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the United States for four consecutive years. Cangialosi sold Blue Sky Factory in 2011, moving on to co-found Betamore, an 8,000 sq. ft. urban campus for tech entrepreneurship focused on “education, community and incubation.”

Cangialosi found success in business, but he wasn’t just off and running, leaving the other runners in the dust. He calls himself “a big believer in giving back and helping to make the places and the institutions that support you better and better.”

While Cangialosi was growing his companies, he was also growing his relationship with UMBC, sharing his experiences with students and learning from their fresh perspectives as a lecturer at the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. Over the years, Cangialosi has spoken with students and alumni at relationship-building events and has served as a judge for our Idea Competition.

Greg C. w-students [Read more…]

Social Entrepreneurship @ UMBC

Vivian Armor is Director of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at UMBC. Amy Froide is associate professor of History at UMBC and a faculty fellow of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship has been a key component of our entrepreneurial initiatives since the founding of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship in 2000. Social entrepreneurs are pioneers of innovation that benefit humanity.  A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to create and implement social change.

We are very excited that last year the university established a new minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The minor is for students in all fields and disciplines, including the arts, social justice work, policy, and activism. Students enrolling in the minor must take two core courses, one of which can be  POLI/AMST/SOCI 205, “Civic Agency and Social Entrepreneurship.” This course has been co-taught by Delana Gregg and David Hoffman for the last four years and is always filled to capacity.

Students can go on to study social entrepreneurship in other courses as well. For example, Professor Amy Froide regularly teaches a seminar on “Entrepreneurs in 18th-century London, England.” In this course, History students research and write papers using original historical documents. One of the students in the course, [Read more…]