Dare to succeed
An entrepreneur at heart, Rob Orr ’14 began building two seasonal businesses in the Outer Banks while pursuing a finance degree at Elon.
By Madison Mackenzie ’18
Long before coming to Elon, Rob Orr ’14 had entrepreneurial ambitions. His parents own and run the popular Jolly Roger Pier and Motel in Topsail Island, North Carolina, and were always motivating him to try new challenges. “Growing up, my siblings and I were encouraged to take initiative and part of that initiative included starting, growing, selling and operating businesses,” recalls Orr.
At age 9, he began teaching fishing lessons at the family fishing pier, and by age 14, he was offering duck hunting adventures along the North Carolina coast. He became a U.S. Coast Guard-certified captain at age 18 and opened his own offshore charter fishing business. When he came to Elon, Orr enhanced the creativity and confidence that was instilled in him at a young age and began building two seasonal businesses in the Outer Banks: Dare to Hyde Outdoor Adventures, an ecotourism company that provides customers with a wide variety of activities, and The Berkley Manor, a popular destination wedding venue. Although these may seem like two very different businesses, Orr focuses on the multiple similarities between them. “First and foremost, they are part of the tourism industry,” says Orr, a financemajor. “Both depend on outstanding hospitality and customer service and both are seasonal.”
Orr began working on the businesses in his free time outside of class, and by the time he graduated, both enterprises were up and running. Since then, he has continued to work with various partners to found three other companies, all of which he manages. He believes the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who take risks in their business ventures. “So many people spend their lives waiting for the ‘perfect opportunity’ but I contend that there is no such thing,” he says. “Every business has unique risks and challenges. It is up to the entrepreneur to effectively overcome those challenges in order to succeed where others are unwilling to try.”
Orr’s achievements motivate him to continue designing new ventures. His latest project is the renovation of an old motel in eastern North Carolina, Mattamuskeet Outpost, which opened in the fall. He says he couldn’t have gotten this far without the lessons he learned at the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. “Whether it is relationships with peers in the business community that I can call on to solve problems, or a faculty member whom I can consult with or draw from, I utilize the relationships, experiences and knowledge gained at Elon each and every day,” he adds.
Learn more about Orr’s ventures at www.daretohyde.com.