Earth Starter Wins National Cupid's Cup Business Competition

         Earth Starter Wins National Cupid's Cup Business Competition

PR Newswire

COLLEGE PARK, Md., April 8, 2013

COLLEGE PARK, Md., April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The University of
Maryland's Earth Starter, maker of the Nourishmat modular garden kit, took
home $52,500 as the top winner of the eighth annual Cupid's Cup. The first
year as a national business competition, the event was held April 5 at UMD's
College Park campus, hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the
Robert H. Smith School of Business. Cupid's Cup is sponsored by alumnus Kevin
Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, the Baltimore-based leader in
performance apparel, footwear and accessories. As the grand prize winner,
Earth Starter will also benefit from exclusive access to Plank's professional
network, one of the added bonuses of winning this year's expanded competition.

Six finalist startups had six minutes to deliver a business pitch to Plank and
a panel of five other judges in front of 1,000 attendees at UMD's Clarice
Smith Performing Arts Center. The audience also heard Plank's words of
inspiration on building a business as he rallied the entrepreneurs in

Plank spoke before announcing the Cupid's Cup winners:

  o$50,000, 1^st place: Earth Starter LLC, University of Maryland – maker of
    products to accelerate and simplify growth and yield for garden
  o$15,000, 2^nd place: CoverPlay LLC,  University of Virginia – maker of an
    ultra-thin Bluetooth speaker for mobile devices called the Mojo
  o$5,000, 3rd place: Diagnostic anSERS, University of Maryland – maker of
    ink-jet printed sensors for detecting trace amounts of chemicals, from
    explosives to narcotics
  o$2,500, Audience Choice Award, decided by text voting during the event –
    Earth Starter LLC (sponsored by Sam Medile '80, a successful entrepreneur
    and former Terp student athlete)

Medile also sponsored a $5,000 prize for the University of Maryland company
who best leveraged all of the university's resources in launching their
company, which went to Diagnostic anSERS. UMD applicants who made it to the
semifinal round of Cupid's Cup were eligible.

The day also included the Business & Innovation Showcase, sponsored by BB&T,
highlighting more than 50 campus and regional startups and entrepreneurship
organizations in a lively tradeshow format at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni
Center. AOL also served as a sponsor and conducted informal recruiting
interviews on-site.

BB&T presented prizes for participants of the Business & Innovation Showcase,
determined by votes from event attendees:

  o$2,000: Homesnap, a real estate photo app
  o$2,000: Gill Grilling, a meal service provider for fraternities and
  o$2,000:, a dorm-size refrigerator rental service
  o$2,000: Wheel Shields, a skateboard accessory maker
  o$2,000: Triple Impact, a corporate service trip planner

"Entrepreneurship is alive and well at the Smith School of Business and the
University of Maryland," said G. "Anand" Anandalingam, dean of the Smith
School. "We are very happy to be the catalyst to really embrace
entrepreneurship all around this country. The future of this country is to
continue to be innovative and entrepreneurial. That's the only way we are
going to be preeminent on the world stage."

"Our commitment to entrepreneurship extends far beyond this competition," said
Elana Fine, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. "We
our working with our campus counterparts to inspire a community of
entrepreneurs. We want to help develop the entrepreneurial mindset here on
campus and throughout the region that gives people the courage to take steps
to take their fearless ideas to market."

Cupid's Cup is named for a Valentine's Day rose delivery business Plank
started as a student at the university. As an athlete, he wasn't permitted to
have an outside job, so he turned to entrepreneurship. Plank worked with the
Dingman Center to start a business competition to foster similar student

The competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at
accredited U.S. colleges and universities who are running companies that have
generated at least $5,000 in revenue or have a version 1.0 product with proof
of traction. Entrepreneurs from 24 universities in 16 states entered the
competition. The finalists received intensive coaching from successful
entrepreneurs to prepare for the final competition.

Other Cupid's Cup finalists were Hole Patch LLC from  Case Western Reserve
University, a developer of a new method for patching potholes;
from Florida State University, provider of a service for college students to
buy and sell class notes; and Neural Analytics from the University of
California Los Angeles, a developer of a portable non-invasive medical device
to diagnose traumatic brain injuries on the football field or the battlefield.

About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center is one of the nation's pre-eminent institutions where the
research, education and practice of entrepreneurship are pursued vigorously.
We develop and execute curricular and non-curricular programs that uniquely
leverage Smith School thought leadership, experiential learning and our
network of practitioners to provide resources to startup businesses. Every
initiative is designed to support the Center's mission to "build a community,
operating from the Smith School that discovers, equips, connects and
celebrates entrepreneurs."

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, executive MS, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community.
The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia. More information is available at

Contact: Greg Muraski

SOURCE Robert H. Smith School of Business

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