Published on November 4, 2014 by Kara Kennedy  

Samford University’s Brock School of Business has partnered with Birmingham Business As Mission Network on a new entrepreneurial competition called the Lion’s Den. The Nov. 13 event will take place from 4-6:30 p.m. in the Brock Forum located in the Brock School of Business.

Five businesses have been selected through an application process and will present their plan to a Panel which will discuss and challenge their respective business plans during the live event.

The Lion’s Den will provide a “Shark Tank” type experience but with a twist. “The Panel will be looking for sharp business minds focused on producing financial, social, and spiritual results in their chosen endeavors, known as the ‘triple bottom line’ in Business as Mission,” said Chuck Welden, moderator for the event.

Six judges will participate in the competition, including Drayton Nabors, director of Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics; Tom Sudyk, CEO and founder, EC Group International; Henry Kaestner, managing partner Sovereign’s Capital; Andy Perez, CEO, AudiencePoint; Betsy Holloway, Samford’s chief marketing officer; and Chuck Welden, director of development, WeldenField Development.

Participating Companies

The five companies chosen to participate in the competition include:

East Africa Energy Fund

This fund will focus on energy production opportunities in East Africa. Principals have already successfully developed hydro projects in Rwanda. With two more hydro projects approved in Rwanda and another planned for Kenya, East Africa, Hydro is well positioned for growth.

Erwin Brothers Entertainment

After already achieving commercial success with “October Baby” and “Mom’s Night Out,” the Erwin Brothers are working on their next film, “Woodlawn.” Come hear how this move is part of larger vision to reach our culture. As someone recently said, “movie screens have become the pulpit for our society.”

EzyLife India

EzyLife’s goal is to provide “life enhancing products” to those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Products include those designed to improve crop production, solar lighting, and safer, more efficient stoves. The common theme for all these products is to save the customer time and/or money.

Thrive Farmers Coffee

Thrive Coffee is importing coffee beans directly from growers in Central and South America. They provide a revenue sharing model that returns to the farmers up to 10x from current pricing. Thrive supplies coffee to a number of companies including Chick-Fil-A. Their “farmer direct model” is one that is truly a “win-win” for all involved.

Work of Worth International 

Work of Worth International (WoW) exists to combat human trafficking and global poverty by importing and distributing quality handmade items from local social entrepreneurs in developing countries. WoW is the first successful business start-up launched by Samford University’s Brock School of Business Social Entrepreneurship Program. 

Please go to for additional information.

About the Brock School of Business: U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South, and the university is widely acknowledged as a leader in liberal arts and professional school education. Samford University’s Brock School of Business has a long history of achievements in business education. The university has offered degrees in business and commerce since 1922. In 1965, the School of Business was established to offer both bachelors and masters degrees in business. It was formally named the Brock School in 2007 for Birmingham banker and Samford trustee Harry B. Brock Jr., reflecting his long career in business and his commitment to high quality business and entrepreneurship education. The Brock School of Business holds AACSB Accreditation, the benchmark of quality worldwide and the most widely sought after standard of excellence by U.S. business schools. Learn more at

About Business As Mission: Business as Mission is a contemporary term describing the integration of business and the call to the whole church to take the gospel into the world. It is an answer to the prayer ‘May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven’, as people and communities are positively transformed through for-profit business activities.