Teams to compete in Silversword Business Competition
Game on! In a Shark Tank-like competition, teams of students will compete in an entrepreneurial 18-week contest, vying for the grand prize of $2,000. The catch: the product or the service must have some element of sustainability.
“Your idea has to address any of the CIFAL Center’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG),” explained Asoke Datta, EdD, School of Business and Communication’s Assistant Dean, outlining the competition’s rules. “It has to be profitable, not just in terms of revenue, but for the greater good of society.”
Without revealing too much about her strategy, Carol Nacario ’23, a senior in the School of Business and Communication, is concerned with all the “waste” that she sees around her. The environment, like many in her generation—led by Greta Thunberg and the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led political organization urging increased attention to climate change—is an issue that needs to be kept in the forefront of people’s minds.
“Deciding on a final project will be the most difficult challenge,” shared Nacario with other students who attended Day 1 of the competition. “My target audience will be the campus.”
Academic competitions play an essential part in learning for students. Participation offers a hands-on opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and principles they have gained in the classroom and apply it to real-work situations. These competitions foster such skills as leadership, teamwork and communication. They can also be a great way to make new connections and friends.
School of Business and Communication interim dean, Dr. Annette Santos, issued her first challenge to the students: recruit others to join their teams. “It can be a team of two to five students,” said Santos via a live video feed from Guam. “However, at least one of the team members has to be from the School of Business and Communication.”
A business major, Peyton Haleamau ’25, convinced second year forensics science majors, Emma Rosales ’25 and Michalla “Meeks” Butardo ’25, to be on her team. Having never taken a business course, Rosales and Butardo consider their lack of entrepreneurial savvy as their major challenge.
“We’ll be here as advisors and mentors,” marketing lecturer Wera Panow-Loui, MBA, told the students. “Last year, I opened my house up to a team of students who were producing jewelry out of microplastics reclaimed from the beach and in the ocean. And I also fed them.”
Datta suggested to find team members who are in different disciplines, from art and interior design to nursing and data analytics. “You want a wider perspective than just business,” he said. “That’s what entrepreneurs do—they get creative. And, if they fail, what they learn from that failure determines how they succeed the next time.”
Each team will be given $250 seed money to use at its discretion. The School of Business and Communication’s Advisory Board members, who are providing the funding for the seed money, will also be available as mentors.
When the competition was launched in 2021, the plan was to have students open and manage a pop-up concession on campus. Because COVID-19 was still a factor, another approach was decided: the School invited students to participate in a business competition that would allow them to show off their creativity, their ability to work with others and their aptitude in everything from marketing to accounting and customer service.
“Think of this competition as an incubator of ideas,” said Dr. Eduard Merc, who is Chaminade’s MBA director. “You’ll have the chance to work alongside your professors and the opportunity for experiential learning that goes beyond theory.”
Students’ final presentation will take place on Nov. 16. Each team will be assessed by sales/revenue, social media likes and shares, and their profit-and-lost statement.
“And your business must align with the sustainable approach,” Santos emphasized. “In developing your business plan, take into account these considerations: 1) Identify future needs; 2) Identify technology to serve that need; and 3) How will you deliver the need, through what channels of distribution?”
Their time starts now!