At 13, University of Wisconsin student QuHarrison Terry started his first business. At 15, he opened for Wiz Khalifa. At 17, he created his own clothing line. At 19, he operates a marketing startup, philanthropic endeavor and music industry app.
Despite all of these accomplishments at such an early age, Terry, a computer engineering major said his main focus is inspiring youth. The Badger Herald sat down with Terry to find the source of his knack for entrepreneurship. This interview has been edited for clarity and style.
The Badger Herald: Where are you from?
QuHarrison Terry: I’m from the West Coast but I grew up in Glendale, Wisconsin. It’s been interesting because I’ve been able to see the differences between the way people interact on the East Coast, the West Coast and the Midwest.
It’s quite fascinating because all of them are different. There are intrinsic values that you could take away from each of them and this is one of the things that inspire me to almost be like a sponge, to take certain good aspects of different cultures and just adopt them.
BH: Tell me who you are in three words.
QT: I would say I’m a founder, a student at UW and a lifestyle activist. I’ve had my own company since I was like 13. I started off as a professional DJ and I was the DJ for Wiz Khalifa at Summerfest in 2011 and I was also a DJ for Dom Kennedy.
I learned a lot from being a professional DJ and went on to go start the clothing line, V-Neck Mafia. I was also able to get into marketing and after gathering a group of individuals that were trendsetters and tastemakers and after realizing that we had a large following, I thought why not start an advertising agency to help connect with our generation.
That’s how V-Neck Mafia became Victory is Never Merciless (VNM). Going away from there, we’ve always been a philanthropic company and we have a KIVA fund. KIVA Microfunds is a non-profit organization and they believe in empowering people.
Our company’s been doing quite well and we’ve already donated $2,000 dollars to about 43 people through the KIVA loan system. I think KIVA is an awesome organization, and in the future, we hope to help a total of 500 people to do whatever they want to do.
BH: Do you have any other projects?
I’m working on an app for musicians called Swivelfly. What this app does is it puts fans in the musician’s database after they’ve bought the musician’s music or posted something about them. The app is on the second stage of Beta and should be in the app store by mid-September.
BH: Have you always been this determined? Even when you were still a kid and didn’t worry too much about life?
QT: Yeah, I was the oddball out of the group and I’ve always had that sort of drive since a young age. I’ve always to wanted to show others how they could get that drive.
BH: How do you set a good example for your own generation?
QT: A lot of people are content with where they are in life and all they need is a little spark. We grew up in an international culture and our friends are global because of the thing called the Internet. The fact that we have the power to do much more than any other generation also inspires me sometimes. I feel that it’ll be ridiculous if we don’t develop and use this power wisely.