Business bootcamp boosts community entrepreneurship

This coming May, Loyola University’s College of Business will hold a ten-day bootcamp designed to help participants develop entrepreneurial skills through mentorship. The bootcamp is open to all members of the Loyola community, including students, faculty, staff, and parents, according to Barbara Watts, the executive director of Loyola’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development.

The program itself includes a ten-day intensive, as well as a three-month period for business development under the mentorship of an entrepreneurial member of Loyola’s extended community, according to Sam McCabe, the assistant director of Loyola’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development. These mentors include Loyola alumni, as well as local business owners, McCabe said.

The program will end with a pitch competition next September, after which one participant will win $ 30,000 to further fund and develop their new business, said McCabe.

Watts said she believes that, regardless of discipline or position, this program has something to offer to all members of the Loyola community. She said she ultimately sees it as an opportunity to turn past education and experiences into something tangible and beneficial. ”

“My ambition is to help people take an opportunity to provide service and value to the world and be successful, and I think it’s for the betterment of our university,” Watts said.

Watts said that despite entrepreneurship usually being associated with big business, it’s really about finding and meeting a need within the greater community. Often, the true goal of entrepreneurship is helping others, according to Watts.

And, this desire to help others is reflected in the business started by David Price, a political science junior at Loyola.

Price believes that his product will make police interactions safer, and decrease the possibility of these interactions turning violent. Safety Pouch, Price’s product, is a document holder designed to ensure that all necessary documents are safely within reach during traffic stops, according to Price.

“We’ve all seen in media throughout the years, the tragic outcomes that have happened during traffic stops from drivers reaching for information and officers being unsure of what’s going on,” Price said. “It’s a very high tense situation, and our goal is to ease that tension.”

Further, Watts believes that involving community members outside of the Loyola student body will foster a greater diversity of ideas and result in “success for the whole family.”
Some applicants, like marketing and management junior Nydia Cooper, are focusing on building family businesses. Cooper said she hopes to utilize this program in order to build on the photography business she and her mom own. She said that she wants guidance in advertising and gaining exposure within the local community.
“There’s a heart to all members of the Loyola community, desires to make a positive impact,” Watts said. “So from an entrepreneurial perspective, my ambition is to help people take what they see as an opportunity to provide service and value to the world and be successful.”

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