Critical. Subversive. Irrepressible.

AWOL

Critical. Subversive. Irrepressible.

AWOL

Critical. Subversive. Irrepressible.

AWOL

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Students develop their ideas into businesses at the Veloric Center

Newly renamed center offers mentorship to student entrepreneurs
Students+develop+their+ideas+into+businesses+at+the+Veloric+Center
Maegan Seaman

The Veloric Center of Entrepreneurship at the Kogod School of Business supports student-built small businesses.

The Veloric Center of Entrepreneurship, located in the Don Meyers Technology and Innovation Building rooms 219 and 221, was formerly known as the Center for Innovation, but was renamed recently after entrepreneur Gary Veloric. Danielle Vogel, a professional lecturer at Kogod, is the assistant director of the center.

“The Veloric Center for Entrepreneurship serves as a cross-campus catalyst and hub to encourage risk-taking and build the entrepreneurial mindset at American University,” Vogel said.

The Veloric Center offers multiple opportunities a year to entrepreneurial students at the university, Vogel said. These opportunities include competitions, workshops, networking events and mentorship through the Entrepreneurship Incubator Program. All students can access the center to put their entrepreneurial ideas into effect or seek out advice from experienced professionals.

The incubator program allows students and alumni to start their own businesses with the guidance of experienced professionals, Vogel said.

“We run the AU Business Incubator, which provides mentorship, support and workspace for AU students and recent alumni, who are taking the brave step to launch their own ventures,” Vogel said.

Senior Killian Lozach said he has taken advantage of the incubator program’s resources in starting his own company.

“I started a company a year ago, called FindMyClinicalTrial,” Lozach said. “We created and we’re still in the process of finishing an application that helps connect patients to clinical trials, as well as doctors to patients and doctors to clinical trial sites.”

Lozach said that center leaders, Director Tommy White and Vogel, have their own businesses they successfully executed. 

White is a co-founder, former CEO and director for the advisory services and training company Institute for Public-Private partnerships. Vogel founded the grocery store Glen’s Garden Market before selling the business in 2021, according to their university profiles. Lozach said it was helpful to have help from people with experience.

Lozach said friends and professors encouraged him, an international relations student, to join the incubator program, despite having no other relation to Kogod. 

The Veloric Center is open to all students in the university community, according to their website.

Sophomore Andrew LaBerge said he is a political science major, and he used the incubator program within the center to navigate the challenges that come with running his nonprofit, REAL Action Inc., in the Washington area.

“[The incubator was] able to help us get through some of our basic incorporation fees, like becoming a nonprofit with D.C. and submitting a tax exemption request to the IRS,” LaBerge said.

He said that a lot of this support comes directly from Vogel and White.

“Both are experts in their field,” LaBerge said. “They come from different backgrounds but have a lot of experience with startups involving nonprofits, government entities and getting people started.” 

The center is named after entrepreneur Gary Veloric, founder and CEO of the investment and advisory firm Red Stripe Plane Group, who contributed to the newly developed university concert series that featured the Flo Rida concert in the Fall 2023 semester, according to a university email from Oct. 16, 2023. 

According to an article by AU Communications Manager Anna Morcerf, the concert series reflects what Veloric participated in as a student at AU, as Veloric chaired the concert committee that hosted concerts by the Police, Jerry Garcia and the Pretenders.

“Gary [Veloric] attributes much of his entrepreneurial prowess to his hands-on experience as a student, through which he gained invaluable skills in booking talent, promoting, marketing and managing events,” Morcerf wrote.

Kogod also announced a new Hall of Fame Jan. 22, established by Veloric to honor the “entrepreneurial spirit and strategic innovation that the school has fostered for decades,” according to the business school’s website.

The Veloric Center allows students to collaborate in order to facilitate student and alumni businesses, and the incubator program is always changing to better support student entrepreneurship through a multitude of resources for the AU community, Vogel said.

“As a Center for Entrepreneurship, collaboration is in our nature,” Vogel said. “We’re constantly seeking out fruitful ways to improve our students’ learning experience as we help them build the relationships and experiences that will serve them beyond our campus.”

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