Finding a Mentor To Guide You

This is a part of a series of posts this summer, where we are highlighting ways you can work on your business or idea this summer. Plus, these are all things you can do from ANYWHERE, so whether you are home for the break, in Nashville, or traveling the world, you can be making progress on your business without being at school.

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A trusted mentor can share valuable information without any expectations or ulterior motives. Finding a mentor can help your development as an entrepreneur and within your business. Not only can a mentor help guide you and give you advice along the way, they can be someone you brainstorm with, someone you go to when you have a hard and important decision to make, or even someone you just want to complain to and get encouragement from. Being an entrepreneur is not always easy but having someone in your corner can make the journey smoother. 

Finding the perfect mentor starts with you. To figure out what you need in a mentor ask questions like: What are my weaknesses? Where do I need advice? Do I just have an idea I want to get off the ground or am I looking to expand my business further? These are all factors that could go into finding someone who can be a good mentor for you.

Things to look for in a mentor after considering the above questions:

  • Experience - If not older than you at least find someone who has more experience than you. You want the advice they give you to come from a place of experience. Even if they wish they had made a different choice, their experience will be helpful to you.

  • Not Family (Usually) - A family member is great to look up to but you really need someone who can give you honest feedback and not make your family holiday awkward because they told you they didn’t like the color on your logo. 

  • Background - Finding someone who works in the same field or industry as you can provide insights you will not be able to find anywhere else. Note that a mentor does not need to be in your same industry to help you navigate the ins and outs of starting a business. 

  • Honesty - You want a mentor who will be honest to the fullest extent. Having a mentor who will not be honest with you about things you should improve is not going to help you further your business or idea.

  • Trust - This is key because you want to know that they are in it for the right reasons and leading you down a good path and not just one that benefits them in the end.

  • Guides, Not Controls - someone who can ask thought-provoking questions and guide you in the right direction. Avoid someone who tells you your next step.

  • Accountable - They can help keep you accountable and push you to go beyond your comfort zone. If you have goals and a timeline share it with your mentor, they can help make sure you stay on track. 

  • Connections - Someone who can also help share connections with people and help you get other resources you might need along the way. A good mentor is not always going to be able to help you with every problem that arises but they may be able to help you find someone that can.

Take what your mentor says into consideration because they do (ideally) know more than you, but remember at the end of the day you should still make your own decision.  Some mentors may come and go in your life (or the life of your business) and that is okay. Show gratitude to your mentors for their time and advice, and pay it forward by mentoring someone else!

Belmont ETP
How To Do Customer Discovery for Your Business

This is a part of a series of posts this summer, where we are highlighting ways you can work on your business or idea this summer. Plus, these are all things you can do from ANYWHERE, so whether you are home for the break, in Nashville, or traveling the world, you can be making progress on your business without being at school. 


What is Customer Discovery? Customer Discovery is the process of getting to understand what makes your customers tick and how they would react to your product/service. The best part is you don’t need to involve any fancy programs or tools. 

Develop some Hypotheses

Develop your hypotheses of who your customer is, what they want, and how they want it. Develop hypotheses that address what the problem is, why it exists, and when it occurs. Next, write out all the assumptions you made to develop those hypotheses. Focus on validating your assumptions and refining your hypotheses. 

Talk to People, ALL people

For entrepreneurs it can be scary to share with others what you are working on, but practicing explaining your idea and getting feedback from others is important for the early stages of developing your business. Ask your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers if they have experienced the problem you are trying to address. You never know what connection they may have to your business. 

Want to make it more formal?

  • Create a Google Survey and share it with your friends on social media or email it out to some friends.

  • Host an informal focus group of potential customers. Have a list of questions to ask of the group. Consider exploring the problem before you bring up your potential solution. 

  • If you are looking for quick feedback, Instagram’s Poll, Question, and Quiz features on Stories are a great way to get fast answers from your personal network. 

Conduct Secondary Research

Think you know who your target market is? Look up their demographics online. Investigate their spending habits, shopping preferences, and favorite products. For all the assumptions you listed earlier, try to validate them with a real stat or example.

Check out the competition by visiting competitors online or better yet, in person. Reach out to ask questions about the industry or customers. You may be surprised how much people want to help students. 

DO NOT Wrap it Up 

 The second most common problem with Customer Discovery is to only go through the process once (the first most common problem is to ignore customer discovery all together). Always be checking your assumptions and seek validation from outside sources. Do not forget who your customer is. Always be working to deepen your understanding of them and to improve how your business addresses their needs and wants. Do not wrap it up in a folder and say “this is who my customer is and this is their problem”. Revisit this often, your customers are people and will always be changing.

Belmont ETP
2018-2019 Year in Review

We had a great 2018-2019 school year here at Belmont University! Here are some highlights from the Center for Entrepreneurship.


As a part of the annual Entrepreneurship Festival, LaunchTN hosted the 36|86 Student Pitch Competition at the Entrepreneur Center on August 28th. Two of our students, Jordon Washington (College in Color) and Jamie Isabel (Studious), were selected to compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes! They were able to network with fellow Nashville entrepreneurs, as well as make connections in their respective industries through the resources that the Entrepreneur Center provides. 


On September 5th, we started off the school year with an Entrepreneurship Kickoff Convo where students were introduced to our newest Entrepreneur in Residence, Dan Hogan. Dan shared about the resources that our Center for Entrepreneurship provides and also told us more about his story as an entrepreneur. 

Later in September, we held our Parent’s Weekend Entrepreneurship Village where 12 student and Nashville-based entrepreneurs pitched their ideas, sold products, and gathered customer feedback. We always love this opportunity to showcase our entrepreneurial community to students’ families!

We finished off September with a convocation from James Archer, the President and CEO of KJ Energy. He shared his story of how he built a values-based company that brought him from the oil-fields of Texas to music city. 


October was an exciting and busy month, and it began with our Moench Entrepreneurship Lecture. Payal Kadakja spoke to us about how she built her booming fitness subscription company, ClassPass. The event was packed, and Payal was nice enough to meet and answer questions from multiple students at the end of the lecture!

We had two social entrepreneurship-based convocations in October. The first was a social enterprise workshop with Joel Griffith, who shared his experience with and tips for starting a non-profit or social enterprise. Next, Dr. Shawn Duncan spoke on learning a sustainable approach to social entrepreneurship in a discussion he titled “Charity Detox.” 

Each semester we offer a free legal clinic to students, and our fall clinic was on October 23rd. Two attorneys from Baker Donnelson came to campus and met with students in 30-minute time intervals to provide business advice.

We ended off the month with a convo on How to Pitch Your Business, led by the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Elizabeth Gortmaker. It may have been Halloween, but Elizabeth assured us that pitching your business isn’t scary! She provided some great tips, tricks, and guidelines for the students competing in our upcoming Pitch Competition.


November started off with—you guessed it—our annual Pitch Competition! 10 student entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas in a Shark Tank-style competition and competed for over $800 in cash prizes. The winners were Sean Presley (Notably), Emily Henegar (Cookie in the Kitchen) , and Walker Renfrow (The Walker). 

That evening, we also had a free screening of Knife Skills, a dynamic, Oscar-nominated film that explores the theme of second chances through a social entrepreneurial lens. 

November is also the month of Nashville’s annual Good Makers Market, a marketplace dedicated to local social entrepreneurs. One of our students, Emily Waddell, had a booth and sold her store’s merchandise here. 

On November 30th, Sarah Beth Perry, another Entrepreneurship student at Belmont, finished out the semester on a high note by winning first place at the GSEA Pitch Competition in Nashville. From here, she moved on to compete nationally in Denver!


Students spent the first few days of December studying for finals before heading home for Christmas break!


After returning from Christmas break, students were welcomed back to campus with another convo from a local Nashville entrepreneur! Harry Allen is the founder of Studio Bank, a boutique bank specializing in small businesses, and he shared his entrepreneurial story with us. 

This month we also offered a convocation called “Making It as a Freelancer, Performer, or Entrepreneur,” where a panel of Nashville-based creatives shared about the realities of pursuing your passions and being your own boss post-graduation. They were authentic and personable, and they each provided invaluable advice to help students both personally and professionally.


February was a busy month filled with exciting convocations and events! On the 1st, Drew Hanlen, Belmont alum and founder of Pure Sweat Basketball, shared the story of how he turned his passions into a business as a professional basketball coach and trainer. The room was full of aspiring entrepreneurs, student athletes, and Drew’s former professors and coaches. 

Another business started by a Belmont alum, Wink Paper Co, also came to campus in February for a community service card-making event. Students designed cute Valentine’s Day cards that would be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. This event was in collaboration with House Of, one of our student-run businesses on campus!

On February 15th we offered a field trip to visit redPepper, a creative marketing firm located in downtown Nashville. 10 students got to tour the office space and hear from the founder, Tim McMullen, a Belmont alum. He shared his secrets to creating a cool company culture and the best employee experience possible.

Belmont’s Homecoming was the last week of February, so we celebrated by welcoming some of our alumni entrepreneurs back to campus! On Monday, the 20th, Elizabeth Gortmaker led a convocation on How to Present Your Business Plan, which was perfect preparation for our students competing in the upcoming Business Plan Competition. On Wednesday we had a Founder Meetup where our student and alumni entrepreneurs were able to meet each other and discuss both their current and future entrepreneurial endeavors. We finished off our Homecoming events with another convo on Friday from Jordon Washington. He spoke on the importance of mental health as both a student and entrepreneur and shared the story of his business, College in Color. 


March also began with a social entrepreneurship event as we welcomed Nicole Minyard, a Belmont alum, back to campus to speak about her experience starting Poverty and the Arts, a local nonprofit. This event was open to our graduating seniors.

After students returned back to campus from spring break, it was time for one of our biggest events of the year- the Business Plan Competition! Eight students submitted their business plans, pitched their ideas, answered questions from our judges, and competed for over $8,000 in cash prizes. The winners were Meredith Edwards (Dressed By), James Richard and Ethan Akdamar (Vitamin Honey), and Trenton Ryder (Degree of Freedom). We also had a People’s Choice Award winner, Claire Bidigare-Curtis and Grace O’Shea (Hen House), chosen by the audience, who received $250 in gift cards. All of the students, our five judges, and the crowd turnout were amazing! 

We also continued holding our bi-weekly founder meetups as a way for our students to meet and connect with one another. Each of these meetings took place in the Hatchery, our student co-working space on campus.

We ended March with another legal clinic in partnership with Baker Donnelson. Students were able to sign up for free 30-minute consulting sessions with an attorney and receive legal advice for their business. 


April began with our 7th annual Entrepreneurship Village! Although the weather was a little chillier than normal, we still had a great turnout, with over 20 businesses represented! Both students and alumni entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to sign up for a tent to sell products, receive customer feedback, or pitch their ideas. Nearly 500 students and visitors came through the Village, so the event was a huge success!

A few days later was the Belmont Block Party, hosted by House Of! They organized an incredible event designed to celebrate the community of businesses on Belmont Boulevard. There was live music, lots of food, local Nashville vendors, giveaways, and more. The turnout was great, and the whole event was so much fun!

April is also when we hold our annual induction of the newest Sigma Nu Tau members. Sigma Nu Tau is an entrepreneurship honor society that recognizes students for outstanding academic achievements and principled entrepreneurship. 

We ended the school year with our last event, a Founder Meetup, on April 24th, Belmont’s “Dead Day” before final exams. We gathered student entrepreneurs from across campus to celebrate their accomplishments of the past year with free specialty coffee and snacks. It was a great way to end the semester!

This was such an amazing year for the Center for Entrepreneurship! We are so proud of our students and grateful for our amazing faculty, professors, and community partners. Good luck to our graduating seniors- we can’t wait to see what wonderful things you will accomplish! To our underclassmen, we hope you have a great summer break. We can’t wait to see you back in the fall for another amazing year!

Belmont ETP
2019 Business Plan Competition Recap

Last week was our annual Business Plan Competition and here is a recap in case you missed it:

The Judges

We had 5 judges from the Nashville entrepreneurial community come and hear our student pitches. Prior to the event they read through each of the competitors’ business plan and business financials. After each pitch the judges asked questions and gave written feedback to the businesses.

Van Tucker

With a background in banking and finance, Van is an advocate for Nashville’s creative economy and creative entrepreneurs. She’s a founder and Chief Creative Officer of Avenue Bank as well as founder and CEO of the Nashville Fashion Alliance.

Dan Hogan

Dan Hogan is a serial entrepreneur whose most recent venture was Medalogix, a healthcare analytics firm focused on patients in Home Health and Hospice.  He is also currently one of the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence for the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Victoria Kopyar

Victoria is one of Belmont’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and brings a depth of background from a combination of her corporate experience at Best in Class organizations including US Bank, Target, Dollar General and Gibson Brands along with having founded two businesses; VK Sport and her own business consultancy company.  She is also currently working to help launch a new business in the beauty market.  

Megan Feeman

Megan Feeman is the founder and CEO of NoBaked Cookie Dough, a dessert brand that sells safe-to-eat cookie dough at scoop shops throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and ships nationwide. She is originally from Louisville, KY but moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University (2015 alum).

Phil Shmerling

Phil is the founder of InCrowd Capital, an angel investment network and angel fund that invests in early-stage technology companies across the region.  Phil is also a relationship manager at Studio Bank, where he focuses on entrepreneurship and technology banking.


The Businesses

Each business had six minutes to pitch and two minutes to answer questions from the judges. Each business was started and is run by current Belmont Students.


Vitamin Honey

Founders: James Richard, Ethan Akdamar

Vitamin Honey will deliver vitamins inside sticks of honey, we will personalize the vitamins inside the honey to fit your needs and then we will ship the honey sticks to you making a tasty and more eco friendly way to get your vitamins.



Founder: Sean Presley

Notably’s mission is to enhance the world’s musical experience by providing social and analytical services. Our vision is to create a social media app that runs on music and makes it easy to see and share what you have been listening to.



Founder: Madeline Reeder

Nerthus is the solution to water consumption which Berlin, and Europe as a whole, has been waiting for. Our mission is simple. We aim to eliminate plastic waste by bringing clean, accessible water to as many people as possible. We believe that quality, accessible water is a right guaranteed to every citizen, but that the current methods of accessing water (tap water, glass bottles, plastic bottles) are inadequate. We want to unleash the full sanitary and health benefits that the Nerthus water fountains allow.

Hockett Laboratories

Founder: Dhaivion Hockett

Hockett Laboratories is focused on reducing the cost of previously existing necessity technologies like electricity, and contributing to software innovation across the industry to forward the positive impact that technology can have on multiple aspects of our lives. This technologies include products in industries like A.I., System Securities, Transportation, Energy, and Enterprise Software. Currently, Hockett Laboratories (Hocklab) is in a modified Stage 1 of funding.


Hen House

Founders: Claire Bidigare-Curtis and Grace O’Shea

The Hen House is a company focused on promoting and providing a network for females in the music industry. Hen stands for a Swedish, genderless pronoun which is the idealism of equality the business strives for, and it also stands for Highlight, Empower, Navigate. The Hen House not only books female artists, but an entire female production crew made up of photographers, videographers, and audio engineers.



Founders: Jesse Ingram, Michael Gordon, Bo Feitshans

Addressing the potential for violent situations in public spaces through an integrated system that utilizes three aspects - education, medical training and equipment, and strategic security technology.

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Dressed By

Founder: Meredith Edwards

Dressed By is the first and only platform that gives fashion influencers the ability to hand-pick, create, and sell their own collection of products, ranging from clothing to fashion accessories, without any costs or legal formalities. The program allows them to build upon the brand that they have already established for themselves, while also providing a creative outlet and an additional source of income. Dressed By offers intentional, customized customer service to each blogger to ensure that partnerships are effective and successful. In short, Dressed By is a free service that allows fashion bloggers to easily launch their own online store.


Degree of Freedom

Founders: Trenton Ryder

Degree of Freedom is an all American, handmade saddlery business; providing the equestrian athlete with top of the line, quality equipment. Every product that Degree of Freedom produces will have, in some capacity, the ability to stretch or give the horse a certain "Degree of Freedom" where they can independently move and find their balance quicker and easier, ultimately increasing performance and harmony of horse and rider.

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The Results


Dressed By

First Place

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Vitamin Honey

Second Place


Degree of Freedom

Third Place

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The Hen House

People’s Choice

Congratulations to all our winners and participants!

Belmont ETP
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 - Student and Alumni Edition

This post was originally published on December 5th, 2018

Christmas season is in full swing! So are finals, planning family get togethers, decking the halls, and preparing to exchange gifts! But, what if you don’t have time to pick out the perfect and thoughtful gift for your loved ones? Well, today we are here to help!

Here are ten unique gifts and experiences you can get created by Belmont’s students and alumni:



Candles are a great go-to Holiday gift for someone you never know what to get! These amazing candles come in all sorts of different scents and sizes. The candles are poured by hand to ensure quality of the product, and 50% of their profits go to a charity of their customer’s choice, so you can also feel great about your purchase!


Give your loved ones a taste of Music City (aka the best city in the world) by buying one of these amazing Batch Boxes! From chocolates, from breakfast, to hot chicken and more, Batch Nashville has got all the basis covered for a thoughtful and fun gift. They also do subscription boxes, so if you want to give a gift that keeps on giving, Batch Nashville has got your back!



Have an artistic college student in your life? Well we’ve got you covered with that one too! College in Color harnesses the powerful therapeutic essence of coloring and combines it with typical college scenerio to provide you with a relatable, interactive, and calming pastime.


Maybe coloring is not your thing, but you still want to relieve some stress and tension from the year (2018 was wild after all) check out The Lotus Room Nashville. What better way to wind down than a nice and relaxing massage. They have a variety of massages, therapies, and add ons to get you nice and calm after the Holiday Season.


Need a gift for that special person in your life? Look no further that Consider the Wldflwrs. They carry simply beautiful designs for any of your jewelry needs. There are beautiful earrings, necklaces, and even engagement rings if you’re looking to pop the question!


This is the perfect gift to help anybody keep their New Year’s Resolution! There are a bunch of different packages, such as memberships, group classes, personal training, and retreats! Plus it is the perfect excuse to get your family and friends active again. Also, maybe just get this gift for yourself!


After all that working out at Get Fit 615, treat yo’ self to some self love at biscuit love! Get your gift card now so you and all your friends can go get weekend brunch and one of the best breakfast places in Middle Tennessee!



If you would rather not get out of the house, invite all your friends over for an AMAZING dinner party. You can have everyone over, and just have fun with your friends! No worries about the cooking or the clean up. Just sit back, relax, and laugh while Placemat does all the delicious work.

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Now, while you are having that extravagant Christmas dinner party to celebrate with your friends, why not have some equally extravagant plates to eat on? RV Pottery does handmade mugs, cups, plates, bowls, and more. Let me tell you, this pottery is simply BEAUTIFUL! Even if you are not having a dinner party, you can buy one of the cute state mugs for all your friends!! Perfect gift idea.



Now if you aren’t wanting to buy a gift for someone, but still want to just send a nice letter, we have got you covered there too! Wink Wink Paper Co has all sorts of thoughtful and beautiful letters and cards for all your sending needs.



For the art-lover in your life that also wants to help the impoverished in our city, check out Poverty And The Arts. They take people impacted with homelessness and give them a creative outlet. You can by beautiful pieces of art with an amazing cause attached to it here.



A classic gift that is fun for the whole family! Test your skills and try to escape one of The Escape Game’s many amazing puzzles. There are many locations all over the United States, and many more coming! Can you escape?

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You can never have enough candles!!! Ranger Station was recently featured in Southern Living’s gift guide. They have all sorts of unique smells, and you can even create your own person fragrance.

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Want some beautiful personalized jewelry to give to your best friends? How about a necklace to give to your sorority sister? Felicity and Bliss has everything you need for unique and meaningful jewelry with great prices!!



Last but not least on our gift guide is House Of and BLVD! These are our very own student run stores that feature amazing products. At House Of you’ll find many of the products listed here, as well as some amazing clothes and other items. At BLVD you can find all your music needs! We’ll see you there1! :)

Belmont ETP
Congratulations, Graduates!

This post was originally published on May 8th, 2018


We are so incredibly proud of every single person who graduates this past Saturday. You worked so hard and you made it!! We know you are going to go off and do amazing things. Just remember to keep in touch with your friends here at Belmont University! We want to give some special recognition to the graduates of our Entrepreneurship program.

Here they are:

Tara Ames

Clarisa Arias

Rebecca Armstrong

Andrew Besl

Haley Gallerani

Jessica Hadik

Andrew Huffman

Tyler King

Chandler Kucera

Charlie Merritt

JT Nelson

Courtney Osborne

Micah Owens

Anna Park

Jed Rice

Suzanna Stapler

Jonathan Stubblefield

Luke Wilson

Hawley Young


These students are dedicated and hardworking, and we know they are going to do great.  Some of them have even already started their own amazing, creative, and successful businesses! Congratulations to all of you.

In case you missed graduation, here are some photos to recap! 

Belmont ETP
2017-2018 Year in Review

This post was originally published on May 1st, 2018

It has been a great 2017-2018 year at Belmont University's Center for Entrepreneurship! Here we reflect on all of the great things that have happened this past year:


In May, one of our students participated in the LaunchTN's Pitch Competition: "Belmont student and entrepreneurship major Sara Beth Perry recently participated in LaunchTN’s 36|86 Student Pitch Competition and won in her category, Technology Enabled, earning her $15,000. With the Band, Perry’s startup is a platform that allows devoted fans, new artists, songwriters and established artists the opportunity to engage and connect in a collaborative way."

We are so proud of her and all of the Belmont representatives that participated! Our students are doing amazing things!

We started off the school year with an Entrepreneurship kickoff convo. On August 30th, Elizabeth Gortmaker, the Director of the Center spoke about all of the Center's upcoming opportunities. We also got to meet our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, Shawn Glinter and Victoria Koypar. The convo included donuts (yum) and was a wonderful start to the year!

Following closely behind this event, we had a Back To School Bash at the student-run stores, House Of and Boulevard Record Shop, on August 31st. The event featured live music from the band Rookie Season, as well as food, games, prizes, discounts and all-around celebration.

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 Monday, September 18th through Friday, September 22nd was DECA week. DECA had events Monday and Wednesday to inform students about the organization. During Monday's convo, president Cynthia Klauber told us how to make the most of our time at Belmont by joining DECA and what skills we could learn by participating in DECA's events.

Wednesday's convo focused on one of our EIRs, Victoria Kopyar. Victoria spoke about her past work experiences at places such as Target and Gibson, and how it helped her to become a successful entrepreneur.

Later in the week was the Parents' Weekend Entrepreneurship Village. Ten Belmont students and alumni had booths for their businesses at the event. Some of the businesses included: Runway Audio, No Baked Cookie Dough, House Of, College In Color, and [a][di][a] Candle Company. We were able to meet lots of parents and show some of what the Center for Entrepreneurship has to offer.

October was a very busy month for the Center! To kick things off we had the anticipated Moench Lecture Series Speaker Candace Nelson. Candace is the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes (and creator of the cupcake ATM). She shared her cupcake journey with us, gave us some inspiration to achieve our goals, taught us that sometimes we can turn the mundane into something magical and ate cupcakes with us too (1,000 of them to be exact!!!). She was an amazing speaker, and we are so happy she was able to share her story with us.

A few weeks later, some of our student entrepreneurs began preparing for our Business Plan Competition by attending the Pitch Prep Convo. In this convo, we learned tips and tools for putting together a pitch deck, presenting to investors and customers, and pitching our businesses.

The week after this convo was dedicated to student entrepreneurs meeting with our EIRs to come up with their best pitches in preparation for the competition.

On October 27th Enactus hosted a convo with the CEO and founder of FashionABLE,  Barrett Ward. Barret is a former member of Enactus, and he shared his story with Belmont students.

Nearing the end of October, our student-run business, House Of, hosted Spooky Saturday. There were games, trick-or-treating, and apple cider, as well as a pop-up by [a][di][a] Candle Company had a popup shop.

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Global Entrepreneurship week happened in November, and the Center for Entrepreneurship celebrated with events throughout the week.

First, on Monday, November 13th, we held a convocation on Emotional Intelligence. The speaker for the event was Matt Davis, who is the founder of Grapevine Interactive Technologies. Matt gave us tips and tricks on how to practice Emotional Intelligence in our day-to-day lives.

Wednesday, November 15th was our Business Pitch Competition with 10 student entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur had 2 minutes to present and 1 minute for our panel of judges to ask questions. It was intense! All of the competitors did a wonderful job, and the winners were:

3rd Place: PlaceMat, winning $100

2nd Place: Squillustrate, winning $200

1st Place: Dime, winning $500

To finish up Global Entrepreneurship Week our student-run stores had a Thanksgiving Celebration called House Of Thanks on Friday, November 17th. They celebrated with live music and a Sweet Creations Pie Bakery pop-up.

On Friday, December 1, House Of helped us get in the holiday spirit with hot chocolate, cookies, gift guides, and a special Vintage Sparrow pop-up.

After finals, students travelled home to spend the holidays with their families! 



Students were welcomed back after winter break with a snowy surprise! Belmont had two snow days as the semester was trying to begin, not that any of us minded! 


After getting settled back in, the Center for Entrepreneurship hosted #coffeehour on January 24th. During this, our EIR Victoria Kopyar and students got to talk about their businesses and network with other students! Not only this, but we had coffee and bagels. 

On January 31st, we partnered with the Office of Career and Professional Development to host the Creatives Chat! During this event, we learned from a panel of creatives in Nashville as they "told all" about the realities of pursuing their passions. We gained tips for developing our brand, marketing ourselves (and our work), how to aquire customer, fans, and resources for the creative Entrepreneur! 


On February 21, Victoria Kopyar hosted a convo. She guided us through the principles of putting together a business plan, helped us avoid common pitfalls, and prepped us for the competition. All the applicants registered by February 28! 

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As midterm week slowly went by, students prepared for Spring Break!

Not too long after spring break was our Business Plan Competition on March 14! Students competed for thousands of dollars in cash prizes during this Shark-Tank Style competition. A panel of expert judges will provide valuable feedback for the competitors, and picked the winners.

The winners are: 

1st Place: PlaceMat: Ryan Reisdorf

2nd Place: Squillustrate: Suzanna Stapler

3rd Place: With The Band: Sarah Beth Perry

People's Choice Award: Alate: Karyme Meixueiro Cravioto and Emily Knapp 

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! 

April was an extremely busy month for the Center for Entrepreneurship! 


From April 10-14 we had the DECA Competition in Washington DC! 27 DECA members and our advisors.

Belmont students were finalists in almost every competition that we competed in, and won tons of awards! 

Not only this, but Belmont DECA as a whole got the #1 award for Entrepreneurship! 

If you want to hear more about how DECA did in the competition, you can see Belmont's press release for that here.

On April 18th was our very successful 6th Annual Entrepreneurship Village! Our very successful student and alumni showcased their businesses! We had around 30 tents and it was a beautiful day! Students got to network and see what these businesses had to offer.


It was an amazing year for the Center for Entrepreneurship, and we have even higher expectations for next year! Heres a big thanks to all the faculty, staff, and students who made it possible! Good luck with all you do and have an absolutely amazing summer. We can't wait to see what's in store for next year. 

Belmont ETP
Entrepreneurship Advice from Johnny Cupcakes

This post was originally published on April 24th, 2018

Johnny Cupcakes is an entrepreneur famous for having "16 different businesses before he was 16."

Johnny has created an amazing T-shirt business disguised as cupcake store, and it is now worth millions. Through unique branding, word-of-mouth marketing, and just an all around crazy and creative idea, Johnny Earle has been able to make more than a living doing something he passionately loves. 

At the Collegiate DECA International Career development office, Johnny gave us his insight on what it takes to be an Entrepreneur. 

Here are his tips:


"We’ve been in business for 15 years and I’ve spent little to no money on traditional advertising." Instead of traditional advertising that many businesses can spend thousands on, Johnny spends his advertising budget on creating an experience for his customers. He does this in many ways, starting with his store.

Instead of a regular t-shirt shop, the Johnny Cupcakes stores are designed to look like a bakery. He even has ovens, refrigerators, and mixers in his stores to give it a bakery feel! Not only this, Johnny even hides vanilla-scented car fresheners in the air vents of his business so it smells like cupcakes! He knows that when customers come into his store, that they are going to have an experience and talk about it to their friends and family. 

By being extremely creative and "out there," the popularity Johnny Cupcakes T-Shirt Bakery has spread like wildfire almost solely through word-of-mouth advertising.


Know your customers, and make sure they know that you are grateful for them. 

Johnny likes to write personal thank you notes in many of the online orders he gets. He says that because of this, he will have lifelong customers. Hardly anyone gets handwritten notes anymore, and this is an easy way to let your customers know that you appreciate their business. 

Not only this, but he gets to know his fans and customers through social media! He makes sure that they feel like the experience associated with purchasing a Johnny Cupcakes shirt is a good one.


People will be able to connect more with a story instead of just feeling like they are buying a product. Johnny always shares his stories, from his beginnings and financial struggles as a child to how his personality got him in trouble in school to how he came up with the idea for his t-shirt bakery. Johnny loves sharing how he started and where he's going, and people connect with him and continue to support and follow his brand. 


Johnny Cupcakes is always extremely excited about his brand and keeps others excited about it as well. He is constantly thinking of new designs or things to keep not only himself but also his customers engaged. If you are passionate and put your all into something, people will take notice and support you. Johnny is living, breathing proof that this is true. 

Belmont ETP
DECA Recap

This post was originally published on April 16th, 2018

Over the past few days (4/10/18 - 4/15/18), Belmont's DECA Chapter has been competing in many entrepreneurial events in Washington, DC in the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference!  

Let's take a recap of the competition! 

We all got to the airport at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, April 10th, only to find out our flight was delayed until 10 PM! We spent lots of time doing homework in the airport cafeteria as well as eating pizza and drinking Starbucks. 

We arrived in DC at around midnight and piled up in our busses to go to the Crystal Marriott Hotel.

Everyone got checked in and settled into the rooms around 1:00 AM to get some sleep before the conference began the next day!


In the morning, we had a bit of free time to enjoy the city. We explored DC and some of the museums! The cherry blossoms we also blooming, and it was beautiful! 

Cherry Blossoms!

After exploring, we all went to get ready for the opening ceremony. The president of DECA spoke and kicked things off. After the introduction, Johnny Earle, creator of Johnny Cupcakes, gave us his insight. He spoke about the importance of branding, word-of-mouth marketing, and following your passions having fun with what you do. 


Thursday, April 12, was spent going to lots and lots of orientations. We had orientations for either our Individual Case Studies, Team Case Studies, and the Entrepreneurship Challenge. We also spend some time networking with businesses such as Walgreens, Men's Wearhouse, and Marriott. 


Friday, April 13th was the day of our competitions! All Belmont DECA students participated in 2 events. Our individual or team events were in the morning, and the entrepreneurship challenge was in the afternoon. Not only this, but there were many seminars on things such as franchising and bootstrapping! 

The Entrepreneur challenge was super fun and fast-paced! All the Belmont teams had amazing business ideas, and even two teams were finalists in the challenge. 


Saturday, April 14th was when the finalists from all the challenges competed for the win, and Saturday night was the awards ceremony. 

Belmont took many many awards, including the cluster award in #1 in Entrepreneurship as a whole! 


Katie Coens and Renee Ramirez: First Place in Entrepreneurship (Starting a Business)

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Mollie Montgomery and Becca Wagner: Second Place in Sports and Entertainment Marketing 


Eric Rall and Julia Keefe: First Place in Business Ethics 


Ally Misch: First Place in Accounting 

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Cynthia Klauber: Finalist in Marketing 

All finalists and winners of entrepreneurship centered challenges 

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All of Belmont DECA who competed

Congratulations the everyone who competed. You all did such an amazing job. Also, thank you to all the amazing advisors of DECA and the DECA Officers for making it such an amazing and successful trip!

Belmont ETP
Know The Difference: Business Formal vs. Business Casual Dress Codes

This post was originally published on April 9th 2018

Many of us are going to go into careers that require a dress code. Whether it be for certain corporate events, networking, or even just the DECA ICDC trip, we will be required to wear business professional or business casual many times in our life.

But how do you even dress business professional or business casual? 

Here are some infographics of what to wear for either business casual or business professional.

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Belmont ETP