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Founders Ariel Ramirez and Cassidy Nalbone aim to create a self-sustaining model and reach new schools.

Summer Founders: Dream Smart

UD student venture teaches goal setting to increase productivity

(Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles about participants in the Horn Entrepreneurship Summer Founders program.)

Dream Smart is one of six teams participating in the Horn Entrepreneurship Summer Founders program at the University of Delaware.

The student founders will be given the opportunity to take advantage of the resources available at the Venture Development Center.

Dream Smart founders Ariel Ramirez, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Cassidy Nalbone, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, both Class of 2018, aim to improve the lives and productivity of high-risk children in Wilmington by teaching strong goal-setting habits and skills.

“I started working at a community center with kids and they had so many questions about things they did not know how to do, and instead of setting goals to tackle the problem they would just get really frustrated and give up. I decided to lay out goals in a fun little way and reward them with a bag of chips if they completed the tasks,” said Ramirez, speaking of his inspiration for the venture. “It worked out really great and I wanted to see it on a larger scale.”

Ramirez networked and continued his learning as a Big Brother at Stubbs Elementary School in Wilmington. The mentor position has led to Stubbs Elementary being the first to receive Dream Smart’s services.

The founders hope to grow the network of the social venture to better understand how to best serve the schools and, more importantly, the children, while becoming self-sustaining.

“We want to take full advantage of the network here and work with what we have and our means to create progress,” said Nalbone, who joined the project last semester.

Ramirez added, “By the end of the summer we hope to have a revenue model we can repeat and scale up in order to fund ourselves.”

About Summer Founders

Summer Founders serves as Horn Entrepreneurship’s premier startup pre-accelerator. The 12-week program provides student teams with resources and support from experienced entrepreneurs and faculty in addition to free and discounted services from the Venture Development Center.

Through participation in Summer Founders, students receive a stipend while working full time on customer discovery and idea validation. Summer Founders concludes with Demo Day, a day to present and pitch the progress of the ideas to successful local entrepreneurs in the community.

About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship ignites imaginations and empowers world changers through educational offerings that emphasize experiential learning, evidence-based entrepreneurship and active engagement with entrepreneurs and other members of the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Through participation in Horn Entrepreneurship offerings, students gain the knowledge, skills, personal capacities, experiences, connections and access to resources needed to successfully manifest innovation and thrive in a rapidly changing world.


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