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Belmont Hosts Third Annual Entrepreneurship Village, Welcomes Student- Alumni-Led Businesses

IMG_39678Belmont seniors Margot Lied and Joelyn Young are passionate about spreading words of encouragement through hand lettered creations and together have built M + J Creative, an organization that creates and sells print products and coordinates and organizes special events.

Lied, a senior public relations major, is the mastermind behind M + J’s creativity, while Young, a senior corporate communications major, handles all things business and communication. The duo met at Belmont and said they recently launched the venture after realizing their shared passion and the market for encouraging words. “We love simple, clean, lovely things,” Lied said. “There’s such a cool outlet through print to have encouraging messages…and we have fun and uplifting things to share.”

M+ J set up shop on campus Wednesday to be a part of The Entrepreneurship Village, a grouping of white tents set up in the amphitheater surrounding Belmont’s infamous Bell Tower to showcase 29 business owned by students and alumni representing all stages of business development. Dedicated to representing the innovation, creativity and success of Belmont’s entrepreneurship students and alumni, business in all phases of the business cycle participated.

With organizations representing a wide variety of industries including design and consulting, music business, high-tech, fashion and apparel and various social ventures, Nashville’s robust entrepreneurial spirit was well-represented. As more than 250 students, faculty, staff and community members mingled from tent to tent, student musicians James Ross and Dean Dixon performed live music setting the backdrop for engagement, collaboration and development.

IMG_39552Young said M + J were excited to attend Wednesday’s event to get their product in front of students and engage with fellow entrepreneurs, giving them the opportunity to practice their pitch. “This has given us the space and time to sit down and make our dream a reality,” she said.

Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship’s Jacqueline Suarez said the Village was born out of the desire for students to experience business collaboration and learn foundational skills through experience in a low-risk environment. “This event gives participants the opportunity to interface directly with potential customers to receive unfiltered, direct feedback and the chance to practice marketing their business ideas. It’s a great way to get to ‘pitch perfect!’”

In addition to providing an invaluable learning laboratory for entrepreneurship student participants, Suarez said the Village also allows more students to experience entrepreneurship in a new way, and for some, for the first time. “We also hope to awaken entrepreneurial spirit in all attendees and inspire them to make positive change – not just accept the status quo. In the end, we hope attendees will connect with the start-up environment, one we continue to see Nashville embrace, and create more and more support for emerging ventures. In the end – everyone wins!”

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