Faculty and students from Regent University’s School of Business & Leadership (SBL) were among the hundreds of people who crowded the Founders Inn to hear entrepreneur and Shark Tank shark Daymond John share his story of becoming a successful business owner. He spoke to hard work, learning from failure, being motivated by passion, not money, and the importance of a business education. For SBL guests, the message hit close to the heart.
“Entrepreneurship is in the DNA of our university, and our university has always been a very innovative, creative place,” said Dr. Doris Gomez, dean of the SBL. “We have great value on anything that has to do with business, and not for the reason just so people can have more money. That sometimes does happen, you happen to make money, but it is really the impact that businesses that are well-run can have on the community, the people who work in those businesses, and in the products and the services created. In that sense, Daymond John is a wonderful fit for Regent University, and I’m excited. It brings a lot of street smarts into Regent University and to our students. To combine that with the education, it’s just tremendous.”
Gomez says John’s story is not unlike the story of many of her students. She says entrepreneurship takes a great passion, conviction and can-do attitude.
“I’ve been in business for eight years,” said Leo Motta ’15 (SBL). “I own a Quiznos in Chesapeake, and I’ve been an entrepreneur all of my life. When he talked about buying crashed-cars, fixing them up and selling them, I did that too in New York. It’s funny, because I grew up in the same neighborhood he did in Jamaica Queens, New York.”
Leo Motta graduated from Regent’s SBL in 2015 with a Master of Business Administration. He left with the tools he needed to improve his business.
“I can apply biblical principles to my operations and develop my crew members to become leaders, and develop them for the next phase of their life,” said Motta.
In addition to these principles, Regent’s MBA program seeks to give students a Shark Tank experience, making them sell, prove and present their business plans in order to graduate.
“We don’t have the sharks around them who judge their project, but we have a faculty panel that really speaks into their project and judges them, starting from the presentation,” said Gomez. “You can have a great product and a great project, but if you don’t know how to present it well, you will lose your audience. If you want to go to the bank for a loan, you need to show to them you’ve done your homework, have a financial model and a marketing plan. It’s a lot of fun and exciting. I’m always impressed with what I see students doing and the creativity that is taking place. We ask this from all of our students, regardless if they have a plan to be an entrepreneur, or even if they never intend to start their own business, because we are convinced that all organizations, for profit or not, are looking for people with an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Instilling an entrepreneurial mindset that sharks like Daymond John share, Regent offers a special certificate program using teachings and material from John.