University System of Maryland
Entrepreneur of the Year Award


To identify, acknowledge and celebrate the entrepreneurial contributions of USM's faculty and staff to the Maryland business community and economy.


There are several potential benefits to the USM from establishing this award:

  • Symbolize the University System of Maryland's support of entrepreneurs and their potential to drive innovation, transform economies, and change communities
  • Encourage and recognize the translation of research into a business ventures
  • Inspire potential entrepreneurs
  • Leverage engagement of the investment and venture capital community in the USM's research and commercialization initiatives.
  • Promote the University System of Maryland's involvement in the corporate community and with the State of Maryland

The annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be recognized by the USM Board of Regents in a formal ceremony and public event. The recipient(s) will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a commemorative plaque.


The applicant for this award must be a full-time faculty or staff of a University System of Maryland institution, who has been primarily responsible for the launch of a new venture start-up or a social enterprise within the last three years.  The venture must be a viable enterprise that has received a significant amount of funding either through earned revenue, grants, and/or debt/equity financing. The applicant should be able to demonstrate potential with a sustainable business model and impact on the Maryland community and economy. 


Click here to download the application. Applications should not exceed five pages exclusive of the required internal letter(s) of endorsement or optional external letters, which should be sent directly from the endorser to in support of the nominee's qualifications:
  • Required: An internal endorsement letter (not to exceed two pages) from appropriate senior ranking administrator (i.e., provost, dean, vice president or president)
  • Optional: External endorsement letters from regional and national leaders in business, not-for-profit organizations, and/or government agencies (not to exceed 2 pages per letter; 3 letters maximum)

Note: the closing date for applications is October 30, 2012. Please e-mail completed application or questions to

Criteria for Nominee Selection

  • Innovation
  • Nominee's Commitment / Scope of Responsibilities
  • Entrepreneurial Risk (Degree of Difficulty)
  • Business Feasibility
  • Financial Performance
  • Local and Regional Impact
  • Leadership and Personal Integrity