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Sunday, June 20, 2021

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Entrepreneurship Club hosts monthly meeting

The University of Richmond Entrepreneurship Club hosted the New Dominion Angels' monthly meeting Monday night at the Robins School of Business.

Remo Kommnick, president of the entrepreneurship club, invited New Dominion Angels to network with students and hold its conference on campus.

"It's a great opportunity to give to students in terms of real life experience with entrepreneurship finances," Kommnick said. "It's a type of exposure that you wouldn't get in class."

New Dominion Angels is an angel investment group of approximately 35 people who meet in northern Virginia and Richmond. Angel investors are individuals or groups of people who hear presentations from early stage companies seeking capital to get their businesses off the ground or grow their businesses, said Frank Ball and Mike McGinley, New Dominion Angels managing partners.

"When [businesses] aren't quite ready for the big-time venture guys, there is a category called angel investors who step in," Ball said, "because they say, 'Only an angel would give you money' in the early stages."

McGinley said they helped deserving young businesses find access to funds. One distinctive feature of this group is its exclusive focus on the state of Virginia. Although many groups focus on specific industries, New Dominion Angels focuses on geography, Ball said.

"That's why we jokingly call ourselves New Dominion Angels," he said. "With relatively few exceptions, the companies that present are Virginia based."

Students listened to real business pitches by two start-up companies, EntoGenetics and Driveway 2 Driveway, and even participated in scoring the presentations.

"You're dealing with real money," Kommnick said. "You're dealing with real people. These are real decisions and these are decisions that can have a huge impact on a business. The fact that they took our scores in the end and averaged our scores with everyone else's scores kind of made us feel like we had an influence on the business decision."

Hosting the presentation is a helpful learning experience that the club was excited to be taking part in, said freshman Ryan Dickerson, an entrepreneurship club membership chairman.

"The main problem a lot of young entrepreneurs have is finding out how are you going to finance your great ideas," Dickerson said. "Even if you materialize them and have a product, where are you going to go to get the money? So this is really the key stage in actually becoming an entrepreneur and succeeding."

Contact reporter Kate MacDonnell at kate.macdonnell@richmond.edu

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