Entrepreneur engines start up
Sawyer Jones, senior business administration major. Presents in front of the judges for his team in the 2015 start up competition. | Melissa Hedrick/ THE CHIMES [file]
The second Biola Startup Competition will start with a kick-off event on Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Andrews Banquet Hall.
An Entrepreneurial Mindset
At the event, students and alumni will hear from John Schad, vice president of marketing at 20th Century Fox. The event starts the year-long competition students, alumni and those outside of Biola have the opportunity to take part in. Robert Harp, director of special projects for the Crowell School of Business, believes Schad can show students a different side of entrepreneurship.
“What he represents to us is an entrepreneurial mindset... [and] what we’re trying to do is to communicate the whole idea of [the] entrepreneur mindset which can be used by starting a business or you can use it in the context of an organization,” Harp said.
As a previous student and current mentor in the program, Schad plans to share his experience taking a simple idea and making it into a business.
“These aren’t just raw business ideas, they come out of a situation, a person, the story, a problem and that I think is motivating to students, [because] they all have problems too,” said Gary Lindblad, dean of the Crowell School of Business.
A Business Plan
The rest of the evening entails presenting the rules and format of the competition, which includes three phases. The first phase simply involves meeting the eligibility qualifications, the next one requires turning in a three page concept paper and lastly, six teams are selected to move on and formulate their business plans.
“What you really see is what God has done, in terms of everybody’s gifted [in] a different way and if we can create an environment where you can form teams that can complement what they’re trying to accomplish, you see that at work,” Harp said.
In hopes of encouraging and furthering everyone’s gifts, Harp wants to make sure to better care for the teams that do not advance between phases.
“It’s an ongoing desire and goal to equip the Christian community with the entrepreneurial mindset and the toolbox, the skills to really launch businesses, launch social enterprises, and to equip the Christian community with the mindset and the tools that God can use to bless society,” Lindblad said.
Impact for Others
As a part of the winning team, White Elephant, last year, senior computer science major Matthew Lemieux learned how God values his work as an entrepreneur to impact others’ lives and glorify God. Lemieux now also works to run the team’s company alone. Even with the bumps in the road, Lemieux plans to continue pursuing the team's plan.
“Basically I am now the only founder, my partners have decided to pursue different paths, and so right now I’m looking for other team members that can share the same vision,” Lemieux said. “It’s a bit of a sad occurrence, it’s a little hiccup in the path.”
Eden Chen, co-founder of Fishermen Labs and a corporate sponsor of last year’s competition, finds entrepreneurship important for Christians to pursue in order to impact the culture around them.
“You’re really not seeing a lot of Christians right now that are involved in the tech scene, in the entrepreneur scene, which is having a massive… cultural impact on the world,” Chen said. “I’m definitely about encouraging Christians to get involved in places where they’re not right now and places that have an impact on society and culture.”