February 17, 2020 at 1:15pm
Kalli Farmer '20 / Video by Lillian Hester '21

Student entrepreneur wants to help make other people's dreams come true

One of the questions that Nick Harper, a senior entrepreneurship major from Decatur, Ill., gets asked is "What are you going to do after graduation?" The usual assumption is that he is going to start his own business, but that is not exactly what Harper has in mind.

With graduation coming up in a few months, Harper is looking toward the future; a future with endless opportunities.  

"I feel like that is my problem with finding a career," Harper said. "I like too many things and I can't decide on one."

Harper first attended Richland Community College where he received his associate degree. He then chose to transfer to Millikin University because of the proximity and familiarity with the University, and the Tabor School of Business.

Throughout his short time at Millikin, Harper has gained real-world experiences in the same city that he calls home. Harper has also traveled abroad to Denmark, interned as a tour manager for a local band, been a member of the Tabor Student Advisory Council and has been part of multiple student-run ventures.

"One of my favorite things about Millikin are the student-run ventures," said Harper. "I'm a part of two student-run ventures: Blue Brew Coffee Shop and Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. As far as Blue Brew goes, I think the class is interesting because there's a lot of people in it. It works and it's really cool because it does work."

Blue Brew Coffee Shop was originally launched back in 2017 as a one-week pop-up shop to test the idea of turning into a student-run venture. With much success, Millikin students currently manage the coffee shop in the Hickory Point Bank building in Downtown Decatur. Going on three years, new groups of students take charge running the coffee shop each semester.


"The student-run part of Blue Brew makes it different from other businesses in the area. It creates an atmosphere with different personalities instead of just having employees. We basically own, run and manage the coffee shop and that's a really cool thing," Harper said.

Harper's experiences with the student-run ventures have played a big role in his career aspirations. He's confident in what he chooses to pursue because he enjoys having a variety of options.

Harper says that Performance Learning at Millikin is "really helpful and provides good experience in preparing for the workforce." It's for this reason that he feels equipped for multiple kinds of jobs.

So where will we find Harper after graduation? Possibly Europe, and looking for ways to help invest in other entrepreneurial ideas.

"My ultimate goal in life is to be on Shark Tank. To have enough money to hear good ideas, business ideas, and be able to invest in them with others," said Harper.

What is Nick Harper going to do after graduation? Help make other people's dreams come true.