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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…)

Annual Business Plan Competition Showcases Belmont’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Ross Hill gives the business presentation for PictureBooth before earning the Outstanding Student Entrepreneur of the Year award and $5,000.

Belmont students know finding industry gaps and solutions to meet the market’s needs are the key to entrepreneurial success.

For Lexington, Ky. senior Ross Hill, that path meant finding an alternative for traditional picture booths, which he found were too cumbersome and at times took up to an hour to set up. His solution, PictureBooth earned his startup $5,000 and him the title of “Outstanding Student Entrepreneur of the Year” during the Belmont Student Business Plan Competition sponsored by Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC on March 15.

“PictureBooth was created out of necessity. It is a portable, shippable photo booth that creates social media for brands. It can be set up in five to 10 minutes and decreases cost by using social media to share pictures instead of printing,” said Hill, who already has gained Red Bull and Krispy Kreme as clients.

Although the competition prize winnings will enable Hill to manufacture 10 additional PictureBooths, Hill said it was Belmont’s entrepreneurship program that enabled his business to flourish.

“This competition has been a culmination of my last three and a half years at Belmont learning from all the entrepreneurship professors,” Hill said.  “I had to prepare a pitch to get investment for this business, and that helped narrow the focus and figure out the target market. Preparing for a business plan competition shows you the starting and finish line so that you know where you are going and not wandering around aimlessly.” (more…)

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