Quinlan’s anti-poverty incubator partners with social enterprises
By Whitney Critten | Student reporter
The statistics are startling: 14 percent of Chicago’s residents live below the federal poverty line, which is currently defined as an income of $24,300 for a family of four.
“When we saw the impact poverty was having on Chicago-area families, we realized that we could—and should—use the expertise within our business school to help,” says John Caltagirone, founding director of the Loyola Business Leadership Hub within the Quinlan School of Business.
Launched in spring 2016, the Urban Social Benefit Incubator joins social entrepreneurs and business leaders to create innovative solutions to help marginalized communities in the fight against poverty.
The incubator began in the Supply and Value Chain Center—part of the Quinlan School of Business—but will housed in the Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility, one of the centers in the newly created Loyola Business Leadership Hub.
How it works
The incubator is staffed with students, staff, and faculty from all schools at Loyola and is overseen by the leadership of Quinlan’s Loyola Business Leadership Hub. Services include providing counsel, organizing resources, and creating strategic businesses plans to help better serve target audiences in marginalized communities.
Incubator partners to date
The incubator aligns well with Loyola University Chicago’s commitment of service to others and to social justice. In the last six months, the incubator has counseled social enterprises including:
- A Safe Haven—social enterprise dedicated to fighting homelessness in Chicago
- EATS Groceries—grocery supermarket dedicated to providing fresh and healthy food in food deserts
- Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network— A coordinated network to combat food insecurity on Chicago’s South Side
- Top Box Foods—social enterprise providing healthy and affordable grocery boxes to food-insecure neighborhoods
For A Safe Haven, projects included creating marketing and operational plans, and consulting on the structure and implementation of lean management techniques to improve the profitability of the landscaping operations that employ many of the organization’s residents.
Mark Mulroe, MBA’15, COO and executive vice president of A Safe Haven, says, “Loyola students approach their assignments professionally and with an understanding that the quality of their work would have a direct impact on the lives of many homeless individuals throughout the city.”
Social enterprises or entrepreneurs interested in joining the Urban Social Benefit Incubator should contact Seth Green for more information.