Inspiring entrepreneurship at Clemson.

Nex Cubed and Clemson University have partnered to launch the Clemson Founder’s Program to provide underrepresented students and recent alumni with access to financial and advisory resources to develop their startup businesses.

Meet the students and alumni.

Berica Robinson, MBA

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: 2009, 2017
Major: B.S. – Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, MBA – Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Columbia, SC native and Clemson graduate, Berica Robinson, is the Founder of Haus of Havilah, a sustainable, luxury fragrance company. With extensive experience in driving sales through innovative marketing and go to market strategies, Robinson decided to embark on her own entrepreneurial journey and earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Clemson University. During her graduate studies, Robinson noticed there was a lack of representation of entrepreneurs of color, which sparked the launch of The Thread, a docu-series highlighting the success, challenges, and stories of black entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators. Inspired by the docu-series and being a budding entrepreneur herself, she decided to pursue her passion for luxury fragrance and decor. Convinced that sustainability and luxury design can thrive together, she sought to explore the fragrance world and the journey of Haus of Havilah began. What started as a creative outlet for tranquility, became an exploration into curating uniquely blended, cruelty and toxin-free fragrance products coupled with impeccably designed multifunctional vessels. Ms. Robinson looks forward to being a catalyst for change in the luxury fragrance industry and scaling Haus of Havilah into a household brand.

Michael Henderson

Hometown: Decatur, Georgia
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: Spring 2021
Major: Physics

Michael Henderson is currently a second-year graduate student at Clemson University and is on track to graduate with a Master’s degree in Physics in the Spring of 2021. Michael is currently working with Dr. Sean Brittain to test new ways to detect exoplanets, namely planets that are in the gas disk of young stars. In his work, Michael translates code from one programming language, IDL, to another, Python, to comply with the standard in astronomy research. Through his participation in the Clemson Accelerator Program with Nex Cubed, Michael has been able to create his first business venture, a social media marketing agency by the name of MNH Social Marketing.

Terryn Witherspoon

Hometown: Uniontown, Ohio
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: Spring 2023
Major: Sociology

Terryn is a sophomore in the National Scholars Program at Clemson University. At Clemson, Terryn currently conducts bioengineering research in Dr. Desjardins’s lab, and previously conducted sociology research in Dr. Mobley’s lab. Her interest in entrepreneurship began after planning Spark Jr., a pitch competition for high school students.  Terryn has spent most of her time developing a wellness program, C.C.A.R.E.. Her inspiration for this program began when she noticed that students were struggling with their mental health, and that the pandemic was only working to expose this further. C.C.A.R.E. provides a community for students to meet each other safely. The program incentives self care, promoting the importance of the students personal wellness. Terryn plans to either attend medical school or go to graduate school for clinical mental health counseling.

Christian Williams

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: 2016, 2018
Major: BA – Architecture, MBA – Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Christian Williams is a marketing and business development manager at an engineering firm in Charleston, SC. She received her undergraduate degree in 2016 from Clemson University, majoring in architecture and minoring in entrepreneurship and in 2018 Christian graduated from Clemson’s MBAe Program. During her time at Clemson as an undergraduate student, Christian developed a passion for entrepreneurship while participating in the UPIC Accelerator program for two consecutive years. She began her entrepreneurial journey creating custom candle boxes and learning the basics of how to turn his creative skills into a business. Christian was then able to translate these skills into applying and attending Clemson’s MBAe program where she spent a year developing an online natural hair care service. In this year, she learned essential elements of starting a business such as industry/market research, customer research and pitching his own startup. Since graduating, Christian has started an online t-shirt company, a custom wood furniture company, and provided home renovation services. While there are multiple business ventures that Christian would like to explore in the future, it is her dream to have her own home renovation studio and home goods company that services clients nationwide.

Nicholas (Nick) Deas

Hometown: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: Spring 2022
Major: Computer Science & Psychology

Nick is a junior at Clemson University and member of the National Scholars Program, a competitive full-ride scholarship that includes valuable learning and development experiences.  He has been passionate about computer science, especially machine learning, since middle school, and has been involved in machine learning research since his freshman year at Clemson.  He is currently working under Dr. Kuang-Ching Wang, Dr. Hudson Smith, and Dr. Carl Ehrett on speech recognition research.  While interested in machine learning, Nick also fell in love with startups and entrepreneurship in high school.  After graduation, he hopes to earn a PhD in machine learning, found and grow a machine learning startup, and finally become a professor of machine learning.  As far as startups, Nick hopes to found a company that uses machine learning for social good, specifically to ease societal problems involving underrepresented communities.  Partially to this end, Nick co-founded Bet On It with Jacob Sargent in his freshman year, a social media platform where users make friendly bets while donating to local charities.  Both are working hard on developing the company and plan to release the platform publicly in January, 2021. 

Matthew Jones

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: Fall 2022
Major: Marketing

Matthew best describes his experience at Clemson through the acronym R.O.I, as he believes that he can see the return on his investment daily. Matthew is a member of Delta Sigma Pi-a business fraternity on campus. This organization has been the gateway to all of his blessings including a solid like-minded group of peers organized to foster the study of business and commerce, an internship with the Spiro Institute, the Nex Cubed accelerator program, and much more. As an aspiring entrepreneur, Matthew knows that one’s entrepreneurial journey is as strong as one’s own network of peers and mentors.  His goal is to develop a unique way to bring mass customization and personal value to the everyday customer by providing textile limited edition products to an industry that is yearning for a taste of quality, value, and most of all a connection. Fast fashion is polluting the realm of quality and shortening the life cycle of products. Shopping with Matthew not only undoes this but also has a positive environmental effect. Matthew is proud to be a Clemson Tiger, and most of all, proud to be attending a school he can call home that will ultimately allow me to achieve my goals and accomplish my dreams.

Bakari Hargrave

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: Spring 2018
Major: Financial Management

Bakari Hargrave currently works as a member of the sales team at a leading Cloud ERP provider, helping companies streamline their operations and better position themselves for the future. Originally from the Southeast, Bakari graduated from Clemson University in the Spring of 2018, with a major in Financial Management. When he’s not digging into a new book or finding time to exercise, he’s working on new startup ideas. His latest project is a B2C startup focused on the home goods space. His future plans center around scaling his project into a sustainable and profitable business.

Jock McKissic

Hometown: Opelika, Alabama
Date(s) of Clemson Graduation: Summer 2009
Major: Communication & Sociology

Jock McKissic was born and raised in Opelika, Alabama. Jock’s mother, Diane, was a single mother of two boys, his older brother Terrell & himself. Growing up in poverty taught Jock how to work hard, while also making me realize he wanted more. Jock’s hard work in sports earned him a football scholarship to Clemson, where he lettered for four years and became the team captain in 2008. After college, Jock began to pursue his childhood dream of acting, and has now been an actor for 9 years. In 2015, Jock’s childhood friend approached him about starting a motivational company called, Elevate Your Grind. Elevate Your Grind is an apparel company that comes with a message and inspiration under the same umbrella. Our dream is for #EYG to become a global brand that allows us the platform to share our journeys.

“In partnership with Nex Cubed, the Clemson Founder’s Program represents a new era of diversity at Clemson. We now have an opportunity to nurture the students’ gifts and talents and provide access and opportunities to innovation hotbeds like Silicon Valley and beyond.”