Major: Business Economics
Minor: Studio Art
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Brian Morello'85, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit (CELEB); Professor of Economics, Beloit College; Owner, Drink Beer LLC
Ulysses Smith'13, Program Associate, Waukegan To College (W2C)
How have you been involved with the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit (CELEB)?
I have been interested in the work that CELEB does with entrepreneurship since I began at Beloit. I enrolled in the course, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, taught by the Director of CELEB Brian Morello during my first semester of freshman year. I continued to engage with CELEB through Brian’s course offerings in the spring of my sophomore year, attending his Entrepreneurship Practicum class every night from 7 to 9 pm. I also attended one of CELEB’s annual conferences, Self Employment in the Arts (SEA), with several of my classmates in 2016.
As a part of Brian Morello’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship class in 2014, every student begins with $20 and Brian challenges them to flip it to $40, growing their capital consistently through the semester. With the help of my roommate at the time, I launched an on-campus business, Fresh Fruit and Smoothies, in response to Brian’s challenge. We generated a sought-after product into a business that we continued beyond his class and through the end of our first year.
I now operate a clothing brand, Robert Tavory. My first collection, Broke College Student, is an ongoing collection dedicated to people who consider themselves to be in the collegiate phase of their education.
“We are invested students.” -Robert Tavory
Do you have a mentor on campus who has helped with your entrepreneurship or business?
I have several mentors on campus. One of my mentors, Ulysses Smith is an alumnus of Beloit College and a former McNair Scholar, who majored in Business Economics and has been there for me since Fresh Fruit and Smoothies. He has advised me on a multitude of things from personal finance, marketing, branding, and economics, of course.
But like I said, he isn’t the only one. I feel the most interesting thing about Beloit is how much the professors here (like Brian Morello) encourage students to explore their creativity. The support is really amazing.
Are there programs outside of CELEB that have allowed you to explore entrepreneurship and your creativity?
Studying abroad was A-mazing. I studied abroad during my first semester as a junior in 2016 at the University of Sunderland in Sunderland, England. I was able to study fashion and business. This really allowed me the chance to learn about different ways I can grow my business in a new environment. From the British foods, to the British accents, I loved studying abroad and I am glad I had the opportunity to go.
What are your plans after graduation?
My entrepreneurship experience has shaped my vision in a very positive way, and has helped me to believe that I can achieve my goals as long as I remain focused on the tasks at hand.
I am looking forward to attending graduate school, but before I do, I plan to work diligently on my clothing brand, Robert Tavory. I plan to bring my brand and collections to other college campuses, hosting a variety of workshops and events to encourage other students to indulge their entrepreneurial creativity the same way that I was able to do.