Candles, jackets and press-on nails filled the Pownall Atrium in Van Munching Hall on Wednesday for Terp Marketplace, an annual event where University of Maryland students showcase entrepreneurial talent.
Hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at this university’s business school, Terp Marketplace has highlighted student small business ventures for more than 10 years.
Alex Onufrak, the Venture Programs and Operations coordinator at the Dingman Center, said this was the biggest year for the Marketplace.
“In terms of vendors, we typically have around 35,” Onufrak said. “This semester was incredibly large in comparison … We had 50 ventures register, [and] we had 45 show up.”
Grace Prak, owner of Pneuma Nails and one of the 45 ventures present, brought a collection of nail-related products to the marketplace.
Prak explained that fake nails often don’t come with nail kits equipped with care products. She said Pneuma Nails seeks to provide what stores like CVS can’t.
“When you go to CVS, you have a press on nail kit, but it doesn’t include everything you actually need,” Prak said. “This kit will ensure that your press on nails will last you long, for more than just two weeks.”
The junior management major, who attends the Universities at Shady Grove, started her business over the summer and saw Terp Marketplace as an opportunity to extend her business.
“I actually learned about it from my teacher like two weeks ago, and I was like this is a great opportunity,” Prak said. “I want to expand.”
Onufrak, who graduated from this university with a degree in information science in 2021, said Terp Marketplace began as a collaboration between entrepreneurship classes at the business school in order to give students real world experience.
Some entrepreneurship classes require that students team up and start a company as part of their curriculum. Terp Marketplace is a good place to put them into action, Onufrak said.
“It’s open to anybody on campus,” Onufrak said. “About half of the attendees this time around were from a class and half of them were not.”
Terp Marketplace is a good test run for those interested in starting a company because of its low stakes and the possibility for students to expand their customer base, he said.
Another Terp Marketplace attendee, Jeff Kyei, showcased his secondhand clothing store called Streetlove. Streetlove specializes in streetwear and offers hoodies, jeans, vintage shirts and more.
Kyei started his business by selling shirts online. After selling dozens, the junior finance information systems major realized he had something “special” and expanded his business in April 2022.
Streetlove has since amassed more than 3,000 followers on Instagram and Kyei has hosted collaborations with students at other universities.
“It really just started from an idea in my head…and then it built from there,” Kyei said.
For Courtney Johnson, owning a small business is a way to turn his passion into profit.
Johnson showcased NotUrAverage Candles — his business born during the COVID-19 pandemic — at the Terp Marketplace. Johnson and his team offer customers a variety of coconut wax candles, all based off of a scientific concepts such as planets, stars and galaxies.
Johnson, who recently graduated with a doctorate in bioengineering and biomedical engineering, said he appreciates the entrepreneurial spirit seen around campus.
“I’ve never seen this level of passion towards starting businesses,” Johnson said. “The Dingman Center has been a tremendous help to starting up and supporting a lot of the student businesses.”
Several students selling goods echoed the same sense of appreciation for this university’s business school community.
Kyei said he feels a great sense of community in the second-hand clothing market on campus.
“I know a bunch of other people selling fire clothes, UMD Vintage, Retro Collegiate, Bad Summer Vintage,” Kyei said. “I appreciate the community. I feel like we all support each other.”
And for Jade Miles, a junior mathematics major and owner of handmade crochet store jolivi, the community encompasses more than only business majors, she said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet other amazing artists, creators and small business owners,” Miles said. “I really love that going to these events, it’s honestly a great community.”