The Student Run Business Conference
The Loyola Limited experience is one difficult to describe and hard to put into words. Felice’s VP of Marketing, Kevin Koprowski says one word comes to mind and that’s “opportunity”. An opportunity to run a business while an undergrad and enter the ‘real world’ a little earlier than usual. Loyola Limited is not the nation’s only student run enterprise, but all experience similar struggles as they open and operate their unique businesses.
Last years CMO, Sara Seibt, sought to bring these student business leaders together to discuss how they ran their enterprise and how to improve. After a year of planning, Loyola Limited hosted the Student Run Business Conference on February 7th through February 9th. The final lineup consisted of students from Northwestern Holdings, Penn Student Agencies (University of Pennsylvania), Brown Student Agencies, Flyer Enterprises (University of Dayton), and faculty and staff from DePaul and Xavier looking to create their own student run business. During their two-day stay, they spent time networking, listening to speakers, collaborating, and sharing individual presentations about their own unique company.
The theme of the conference was “From Local Favorite to Nationally Known: How to Make a Name for Your Business.” Along with the best Quinlan has to offer, several entrepreneurial experts made an appearance, such as Raaja Nemani, CEO and founder of Bucketfeet, and Francis Wisniewski, prominent venture capitalist.
The big highlight and keynote speaker was Arsen Avakian, CEO and co-founder of Argo Tea. Born in Armenia in 1975, he came to America to study, starting his career in IT until he made the move to tea after the dot.com bust. Loyola welcomed the successful entrepreneur for the Student Run Business Conference, where he discussed the journey from I.T specialist, to specializing in fancy yet affordable teas.
The conference was no small venture. Seibt says it was, “…a whole year to plan, mostly, right up to the very weekend.” All her planning paid off as the 30 guests in attendance walked away armed with new knowledge and fresh ideas for their own businesses back home.
The current CEO of University of Dayton’s, Flyer Enterprises Richard Bogusz shared his experience, “February's SRBC conference gave me a better understanding of our unique industry's mission and the feeling of a collaborative effort among students nationwide who share in that”. Overseeing nine unique businesses as a senior can be complicated, but it’s all a learning experience and Bogusz says it’s “the best job any undergraduate could have”. Loyola Limited’s CEO from this past year, Julie Waner says her time here has been like no other and loves the autonomy, “where else can a 21 year old with no capital be completely and literally in charge of millions of dollars of another's assets? Close second is the people, obviously; but you draw in some pretty amazing human beings when you offer the autonomy LL does”.
The 2014 Student Run Business Conference is definitely not the last. In fact, current Loyola Limited CMO, Alexandra Ofori-Atta has already started the preparations for the 2015 Student Run Business Conference. “As Loyola Limited expands, I’m excited to share our progress with students who are doing similar things with businesses of their own.” As more students enter the start up experience, the new school year will bring tons of new ventures, new ideas, and hopefully a longer lineup at the 2015 SRBC. Seibt believes in 20 years, it will go from a conference to an organization, “Not only do I think it can (last), but it was made for that very purpose. It will.”