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Junior selected as Innovators of Progress Fellow

Business Administration major Javon Spencer was selected for a fellowship with Innovators of Progress, a pre-accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurial college students with up to $140,000. Spencer is the first McDaniel College student to receive an Innovators of Progress Fellowship.

A man wears a suit in front of a green backdrop with the McDaniel College logo on it.

In 2023, Javon Spencer earned the top prize at McDaniel's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge for his pitch of ReDorm, a platform for college communities to buy, sell, or donate used items, diverting them from landfills. As an Innovators of Progress Fellow, Spencer will continue to develop ReDorm.

Junior Javon Spencer of New Castle, Delaware, is one of six 2024 Innovators of Progress Fellows selected for a one-year pre-accelerator program that supports entrepreneurial college students in becoming full-time founders of their own technology-enabled ventures.

Spencer is the first Innovators of Progress Fellow from McDaniel College and joins fellows from Boston University, Johns Hopkins University, Howard University, and Morgan State University.

He will receive up to $15,000 during the pre-accelerator in the form of seed capital, scholarships, and a paid summer internship with support from the Maryland Technology Internship Program and Early Charm Ventures. Upon completion of the pre-accelerator, he can strive for $125,000 in additional funding from Conscious Venture Lab accelerator.

Spencer will be developing his concept ReDorm, which aims to prevent excessive waste on college campuses during move-outs by providing a closed, secure network for college communities to easily sell or donate reusable items.

“I found a market need,” he says, “when I saw perfectly good items end up in the dumpster during move-out my freshman year and heard from continuing students that they would be happy to buy those items.”

During the pre-accelerator, Spencer will conduct customer discovery and validation, “figuring out all the small things so that next year I can come back stronger,” he says. “I’m going to get the model down, gather my statistics and numbers, and have it ready to share with potential accelerators.”

Spencer’s pitch for ReDorm earned the top prize at McDaniel’s 2023 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, hosted by the college’s Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PIE). With that funding, he launched ReDorm’s website in fall 2023.

“My goal is to ground ReDorm at McDaniel and have it running smoothly to the point where I can take my idea and technology and implement it at more campuses, regionally and nationally,” he says.

Spencer, a Business Administration major with a minor in Entrepreneurship, says he has found strong support for his ambitions at McDaniel, from invitations to discuss ReDorm with President Julia Jasken to seeing the first ReDorm transaction made by McDaniel students.

Spencer has also found community on and around campus with other entrepreneurs as treasurer for the McDaniel PIE Club and through gatherings of 1 Million Cups, an entrepreneur network in Westminster. He also participates in McDaniel’s Black Student Union.

Innovators of Progress is an independent affiliate of the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (MAGIC). MAGIC hosts the annual Carroll County Hackathon, and in 2023 Spencer was recognized on the Hackathon team that earned “Best Pitch.”

Excited for this new opportunity to bring his ideas to life, Spencer plans to “enjoy the process and soak up as much as I can in this pre-accelerator to be able to apply it to my business and my life in general.”