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January 8, 2005

Maryland Universities Looking for a Few Good Women for Real-Life 'Apprentice'

UMBC is looking for a few good women to compete in a high-tech, entrepreneurial take on the hit reality TV show "The Apprentice."

The $600,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) program, "Achieving the Commercialization of Technology in Ventures through Applied Training for Entrepreneurs" (ACTiVATE), will select up to 30 Baltimore/Washington-area women for a competitive class that, unlike traditional business courses, doesn't deal in hypothetical widgets. Instead, ACTiVATE gives real-world lessons from experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists as students compete to take patented technology innovations from area universities to market.

"ACTiVATE is looking for savvy, competitive women to have fun while going after an ultimate prize that's much better than a job with Donald Trump--the chance to start and run a real technology company," said Stephen Auvil, director of UMBC's Office of Technology Development.

UMBC teams with the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and six other Maryland universities on ACTiVATE, one of only 16 grants awarded nationwide this year from the NSF's highly competitive Partnerships for Innovation Program. While no one will hear the dreaded words "You're fired," the program aims to create six or more new, university-related, startup companies over the next three years while training 90 new women entrepreneurs in the process.

Each year, TEDCO will screen 20 existing technology ideas from participating universities and select the 15 best to be used in ACTiVATE. Start-up firms that emerge from the course may be housed in techcenter@UMBC, the University's on-campus business incubator.

Highly-motivated, mid-career women with business or technical backgrounds who are interested in learning more about ACTiVATE are invited to attend one of two upcoming open houses. These events will provide an overview of how ACTiVATE selects and trains applicants; introduce the entrepreneurs-in-residence at UMBC, give more information on the university technologies to be marketed, and provide details on how to apply for the program.

The next Open House is January 11 from 6:30 until 8 p.m. at techcenter@UMBC, 1450 South Rolling Road in Catonsville.

Directions are available online.

For more information, visit:www.umbc.edu/activateor e-mail cwit@umbc.edu.

Posted by dwinds1 at January 8, 2005 12:00 AM