Senior Dante Stewart was named a Forbes Under 30 Scholar along with his business partner, Eddie Hayes. Stewart is from Brooklyn, New York and is a double major in computer science and Japanese. In 2017, Stewart and Hayes wanted to find a way to connect all the talented people they knew, so they started Underscore.ave on Instagram.
The DePauw: What is Forbes Under 30 Scholar?
Dante: So, Forbes Under 30 Scholar is basically a student who is an undergraduate and gets the opportunity to go to the Under 30 Summit that takes place every year. This year, it’s taking place in Detroit, and they get all access to the speakers, events and community service, as well as other things for the conference.
The DePauw: How did you feel after finding out you were one of the scholars?
Dante: I feel a little bit uplifted, because, you know, it’s one of those things where my work is getting recognized, not only DePauw, but also my company Underscore. The conference is so competitive, and it’s supposed to be surrounding you with people who are supposed to be leaders of the next generation through innovation, in some way, shape or form. It feels good to know that they think that I’m also a mover and shaker. [It] will help push the needle in the right direction for our future.
The DePauw: What is it about your personality that you think makes you one of the Forbes Under 30 Scholars?
Dante: I would probably say it’s a mixture of my competence, as well as my I think my ability to be personable. I try my best to make things real and find problems that are practical, and seek solutions that anyone could probably think of if they just put themselves in other people’s shoes. Faster, like by being confident and understanding about my solution isn’t working for me, but working for the benefit of others. That’s probably something that they saw that were like, ‘Okay, this is somebody who can be a good leader and a good representation for Forbes Under 30.’
The DePauw: Do you think you won this because of your company Underscore.ave?
Dante: I mean, you don’t necessarily have to be an entrepreneur to be an entrepreneur scholar. You just have to show the dedication to your education or whatever you’re doing that shows that you are trying to be a leader in whatever field you’re pursuing. I just know that my company is something that enhances my experience as a scholar. So, of course, I used that through my application process in the hopes that they would recognize that not only am I a student, but I’m also an entrepreneur trying to make change.
The DePauw: What does your company do? And why did you start your company?
Dante: Underscore.ave is basically the aggregate towards the culture. We’re trying to centralize the creative economy by allowing creatives to connect, collaborate and curate their content, and commercialize it both online and offline. So, all we do is just connect creatives to business opportunities.
The DePauw: What are the difficulties of starting a business?
Dante: Probably holding yourself accountable, especially as a student. It’s one of those things where nobody’s telling you you have to get your things done. Everything you have to do has to be completely motivated by you. You have to be driven to do the work. You know, if you stop working, the company stops operating. Probably the hardest thing is just keeping the momentum alive: finding the resources and being willing to do your own research, especially when times are tough.