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Belmont, Downey Win Next Entrepreneurship Awards

JMK_1884c (3)Belmont University made a big impact in last night’s Next Awards, which recognizes innovation in business and entrepreneurship in Middle Tennessee. The competition, which rewards both individuals and companies and is built around the concept of “what’s NEXT in the entrepreneurial landscape of Nashville and Middle Tennessee,” is run by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

Three Belmont students—Tim Downey (Picd.us), Ben McIntyre (Internpreneur) and Channing Moreland (What’s Hubbin)—were named in September as the top finalists in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year field with Downey taking home last night’s trophy.

Downey’s business, Picd.us, was started with co-founder and fellow Belmont student Geoffrey Gross in July 2014 around the idea to incentivize a company’s customers to post brand-related content to their social media accounts. This in-turn will broaden the company’s digital market reach. Downey and Gross have been busy with launching their website, starting the patent process, working on web design and product mockups as well as pitching their ideas to potential investors.

Downey said,To have this award from Nashville is an incredible form of validation that my work is really making an impact… Belmont assisted me in my success through the incredible entrepreneurship professors. The time and attention that every Belmont entrepreneurship professor has shown me is unreal. This award is going to benefit my future just by continuing to push what I expect from myself.  I honestly did not think I was going to get it, because the work Ben McIntyre and Channing Moreland have done is absolutely incredible, and I look up to both of them so much.

Junior Moreland was nominated for her work with fellow Belmont students Makenzie Stokel and Seth Clarke to expand the success of their startup What’s Hubbin,’ a company founded to help Nashvillians navigate through the local music scene. The trio also were the winners of the 2014 Belmont Student Business Plan Competition hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Launched last year, What’s Hubbin’ has more than 3,000 users in the Nashville area including students, area residents and tourists. Users can view a calendar of shows at various stages and explore short profiles of all the local venues and local artists, tailoring their user profile to their own musical preferences.

Entrepreneurship major Ben McIntyre, who was also chosen to compete in the National Entrepreneurship Organization’s (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Award competition, was named a finalist for his business, Internpreneur, a company which partners with employers to create “high-impact internship programs where businesses get real projects done and students get the experience and hands on learning they need to move into full-time employment after graduation.”

The young entrepreneurs were scored by a panel of judges who graded candidates on their entrepreneurial spirit, their product/service and their company’s ability to create jobs and add value for stakeholders.

Companies and organizations, meanwhile, were judged across five industry categories: digital media/entertainment, health care, social enterprise/sustainability, technology and products/services. Corporate eligibility was measured by each stage of growth regardless of industry with the categories titled Startup, Growth and Market Mover. Belmont University won the Market Mover field in the social enterprise/sustainability category.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, who was on hand to accept the University’s award, wrote in the University’s Next application, “While many higher education institutions focus on career training and personal success, Belmont seeks to offer a truly transformational education. The university aims to develop individuals holistically—intellectually, spiritually, socially and physically—and to empower students to develop their gifts so that they can engage and transform the world. These efforts attract the best and brightest students from every state and 25 countries. With a focus on efficiency and cost control, Belmont carefully manages resources and diligently analyzes the budgeting process to ensure fiscal strength. As a nonprofit institution, our priority is on serving our students well.”

To learn more, visit www.nextawardsnashville.com.

For a audio recap by Belmont alumnus and Online Events Manager at Nashville’s TechnologyAdvice, Clark Buckner, see below.

Belmont Students Continue Success of Startup

Left to right: Stokel, Clarke and Moreland.

Left to right: Stokel, Clarke and Moreland.

Belmont juniors Channing Moreland, Makenzie Stokel and Seth Clarke continue to expand the success of their startup What’s Hubbin,’ a company founded to help Nashvillians navigate through the local music scene, through local and national recognition. Moreland, Stokel and Clarke were the winners of the 2014 Belmont University Student Business Plan Competition hosted by the Belmont Center for Entrepreneurship.

WhatsHubbin.com was launched last year and has more than 3,000 users in the Nashville area including students, area residents and tourists. Users can view a calendar of shows at various stages and explore short profiles of all the local venues and local artists, tailoring their user profile to their own musical preferences.

Earlier this week, co-founder Moreland was selected to participate in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneurship Award pitch competition in Miami, Fla. on behalf of What’s Hubbin’. In addition, What’s Hubbin’ was one of 10 companies chosen to participate in the second annual Sparks pitch competition hosted by SouthernAlpha last month. This competition drew established entrepreneurs including Marci Harris from PopVox in Redwood City, Calif., and Sanjay Parekh, a founder of Startup Riot in Atlanta, to judge the competition.

Moreland is also a finalist for the 2014 NEXT Awards’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her work with What’s Hubbin’. Presented by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, the NEXT Awards recognize entrepreneurial-minded companies in Middle Tennessee, as well as the entrepreneurs who make a significant impact on our local economy, helping to make Nashville one of the best cities in the U.S. to start a business.

Moreland credits the Belmont entrepreneurship program with much of the company’s success.

“Belmont has provided so many opportunities that we may not have had otherwise,” she said. “After we were accepted into the Student Business Accelerator program, we were introduced to the Entrepreneurship Village which introduced us to all of these pitch and business plan competitions.”

Moreland continued that their professors have continued to provide advice and support on the company’s future endeavors. The company is currently working on redesigning the website and creating a mobile app before expanding to other cities.

Buzzy’s Returns to Belmont’s BLVD Storefront

Candy-2Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship and sweets lovers are celebrating the return of rock candy, chocolates, wax bottles and jelly beans to Belmont Boulevard as student-operated Buzzy’s returned to its original home this month where it opened four years earlier.

The candy shop relocated two doors down to a bigger suite in the storefront that is now McAlister’s Deli before a foiled contract with a national yogurt company forced the student-run business to close its doors.

Along with Feedback Clothing Co., BLVD Music Shop and Buzzy’s operate in the Curb Event Center space that has been set aside by Belmont University to give students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in operating a small business. (more…)

Author Encourages Students to Pursue Dreams

Jeff Goins -103-LNashville blogger and author Jeff Goins encouraged students to pursue their dream without delay during a convocation lecture on Wednesday in the Massey Boardroom.

Goins shared the story of how he built the blog Goins Writer, which launched him into his dream career and the lessons he learned along the way.

“I became a professional writer without leaving my job, getting divorced or flaking out on my friends,” he said.

First, he had to surrender insecurities and realize that friends, fans and patrons are essential relationships to achieving his dream.

Goins also emphasized that it takes many hours of practice to improve a skill or make a product marketable. That includes not only doing the work frequently but also getting feedback from people knowledgeable in the area.

His final lesson to students was to get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality and instead plan, build bridges and use byproducts.

In 2011 and 2012, Goins’ blog was voted one of the “Top 10 Blogs on Writing” by WritetoDone.com. His first book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life, spent two weeks in the Top 50 Books list on Amazon.com and is in second printing, selling over 20,000 copies in a matter of months. His most recent work is The In Between.

 

Village Connects Students, Alumni Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship Village-119-LAlumna Kathleen Bond (’11) knew she wanted to own her own business, so she studied entrepreneurship while in the Honors Program at Belmont University. But it was two years later that the then-Turnip Truck manager would return to campus for insight at the Center for Entrepreneurship. With the guidance of professors, she and her parents purchased and remodeled a coffee shop in the Gulch.

“When we first started looking at Casablanca, background research could only get us so far,” Bond said. “We needed someone who could help us understand why they were trying to get out of the market and how we could make profits and lower costs.”

Entrepreneurship Professor Jeff Cornwall helped her parents see the big picture as investors, she said. Today Bond employs 17 people, including her younger brother and sister and oversees the 1,200-square-foot Bond Coffee Shop that serves paninis and bagels alongside its coffee.

Bond returned to campus again Wednesday to share her success story and promote her business during the second annual Entrepreneurship Village. In the amphitheater and surrounding the Bell Tower, 33 student- and alumni-owned businesses in the idea, early start-up and revenue generating phases showcased their innovation and creativity.

“I think by assembling this critical mass, we are able to share the quality, ability and volume of what’s been happening in the program. It is great for alumni to connect with current students, find interns and make contacts,” Cornwall said.

(more…)

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