Imagine walking through the legendary ominous front doors of the One World Trade Center in New York City and taking a seemingly eternal elevator ride to the 50th floor; all the while anticipating the intimidating crowd of investors and professionals waiting to hear about your business model, your brainchild.
You are only 20 years old and are stepping into a world you have only seen glimpses of before. You are scared, excited yet completely ready for this next phase of life.
This is just one snapshot Belmont University students Makenzie Stokel and Channing Moreland have experienced as they’ve evolved their fledgling business, What’s Hubbin’, into the vibrant and polished EVAmore.
Moreland and Stokel began with a simple question: “How can we make this better for all artists?” Moreland said.
EVAmore is an online booking agency, catering directly to sororities and fraternities within the Southeast region and functioning as the middleman between an artist and the event planner of the Greek organization – matchmaking musicians to viable gigs.
Stokel and Moreland have worked feverishly to refine and focus their ideas through programs like the 2014 Belmont Student Business Plan Competition.
“Belmont has definitely helped us get to where we are today,” Stokel said. “The community is very supportive of entrepreneurs – it fosters growth. Our professors get what we are doing, even when it’s simply acknowledging that we might miss class because we are doing business in, let’s say, Kentucky. They understand that we will be doing this after we graduate.”
Winning first place in the competition, the girls were awarded $5,000 and were introduced to business professionals who still prove to be invaluable to them.
“Something I’d like to add,” Moreland said. “Elizabeth Gortmaker, the director of entrepreneurship, is going to be a huge reason that entrepreneurs will continue to come to Belmont. I am so happy that she is at Belmont now. I wish she had been here when we first started.”
Next, in the summer of 2014, they were accepted into Project Music – a 14-week entrepreneurship program designed to develop and flesh out business plans for real‐world application.
“We were working out of the Entrepreneur Center of Nashville,” said Stokel. “Some of our mentors told us about Project Music, so we applied and made it in. To get into a program that only accepted eight companies from 100 was insane and completely worth it.”
Through Project Music, EVAmore was awarded $30,000 by investors and developed a specific Greek life‐focused marketing strategy.
“It was really a game changer for us.” Moreland said. “We were the only women and were also the youngest, by far.”
After the summer, in November of 2015, Stokel and Moreland were awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Reflecting on their experiences, Moreland and Stokel offered some advice to other young professionals seeking a future in the entrepreneurial world.
“Entrepreneurship is a chance for you to choose your own path,” Moreland said. “It allows you to build your own identity and idea. You are not boxed into one specific major.”
Elizabeth Motley, director of public relations for EVAmore, issued a statement through email to the Vision:
“EVAmore.co goes into 2016 strong having successfully launched our online platform and earning incredible recognition and support from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneur Center as recipients of the prestigious NEXT Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Looking ahead we are about expanding our brand and message outside of Music City. Strong marketing to the Southeast will be the initial target for first quarter and growing the platform buzz — especially around college and university campuses for EVAmore.co’s unique platform that makes entertainment booking easy and hassle free for event planners & creators along with the other key resources offered. We are excited about building the brand and the engagement for EVAmore.co for 2016!”
EVAmore will be participating in the Fourth Annual Entrepreneurship Village. The event will be held at the McWhorter patio March 30-31.
This article was written by Tyler Price.