Loyola students will soon be able to dive into the deep end with their business ideas. Loyola Limited, Loyola’s student-run business enterprise, is hoping to expand its brand by hosting a competition similar to the TV show “Shark Tank.”
Students can submit proposals for a business that could fill a storefront on Sheridan Road, according to Bianca Galan, chief marketing officer of Loyola Limited. Students can apply at Loyola Limited’s website, loyolalimited.com, through March 18. Finalists will be notified by March 22.
Loyola Limited hasn’t received any submissions yet, but Galan said she expects to see some coming in now that spring break has ended.
The competition, which launched Feb. 22, has been promoted through Loyola Limited’s social media accounts and through an email sent to Loyola professors. Galan said Loyola Limited will also be tabling at the Schreiber Center on March 15 from noon until 2 p.m.
Like on the TV show “Shark Tank,” the finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges on April 1. But instead of presenting to a panel of investors, the students’ ideas will be judged by Loyola professors and faculty.
“Shark Tank” has more history with Loyola than one might think — one of the sharks is a former Rambler. Recurring panelist Lori Greiner, 47, earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Loyola.
Though Greiner planned to be a writer, as reported by various media outlets, she made her millions by becoming an inventor. Greiner holds 120 patents and has been part of “Shark Tank” since 2012.
Galan, 21, said the competition is open to all majors, despite its business component. The senior said that only a few of 50 total Loyola Limited members are business majors.
“I want people to see that … this is an amazing way for you — regardless of what major you have — to get creative. Start your own business. Get involved with this amazing opportunity on campus,” said the Spanish and marketing double major.
Loyola Limited currently has five businesses: Felice’s Kitchen, a restaurant; The Flats at Loyola Station, which hosts visiting Loyola guests; ChainLinks, which rents out and repairs bicycles; Ireland’s, a pub in the Damen Student Center and inQbate, which helps local businesses with their marketing strategies.
But the winning idea isn’t guaranteed to turn into an actual business — it must first pass a feasibility test to determine if it could withstand the corporate competition on Sheridan Road from businesses such as Taco Bell or CVS, according to Galan.
If the idea is deemed a viable business, it could receive initial funding from Loyola with the potential to become part of Loyola Limited. The winner would then be involved in the development and operation of the business while he or she is still a Loyola student.
The winner is guaranteed a prize package that includes free catering from Felice’s Kitchen, a night’s stay in The Flats and a 24-hour bike pass from ChainLinks.
Associate accounting professor Kevin Lee, a member of the advisory board for Loyola Limited and one of the panel judges, said he’s hoping to see a prepared, viable idea.
“I’m not looking for ‘pie in the sky,’ but I want to understand why someone would think this business would be successful, what they think it would cost to run the business, to grow the business. I’m looking for someone who’s passionate about what they’re trying to do,” Lee said.
Jennifer Clark, associate vice president of Capital Planning and another panel judge, said it will be an opportunity to see what the Loyola community wants while also showcasing Loyola Limited.
“I would like to see some creativity about the kinds of businesses that are needed around the Lake Shore Campus … from the student perspective,” Clark said. “It’ll give us a lot of insight into what students are looking for.”
Galan, who is also the president of inQbate, said she hopes the competition raises awareness of Loyola Limited and its benefits.
“[Loyola Limited has] never done anything like this before, which is really exciting because it’s the first time that we’re really aggressively pushing something like this. The thing is it’s such an amazing program,” Galan said.