Published on September 28, 2021 by Morgan Black  
The Lions Den

Samford University will partner with Cedarworks Inc. to present the 8th annual Lion’s Den pitch competition aimed toward advancing the Kingdom through Business as Mission (BAM). This year, the anticipated event will return to Samford’s Wright Center Thursday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. 

Since its inception in Birmingham in 2014, the event has hosted a diverse community of entrepreneurs from around the world.  The 2021 Shark Tank-style event will feature three Business-as-Mission companies presenting their business plans to a live audience and a judging panel of “lions.” The companies, Kijani Forestry, East African Power and Open Doors, will be evaluated by the lions on their ability to produce financial, social, conservation and spiritual results, known as the quadruple bottom-line. 

Kijani Forestry

Kijani Forestry was started based on a simple idea “to reverse the rampant deforestation in Uganda through a scalable, financially sustainable and holistic business model.” According to the company’s website, over 1,000,000 acres of trees are cut down every day in Uganda for charcoal production. Urban centers need the cooking fuel and rural communities, in desperate need of money, cut their trees without access to seedlings to replant. With forests being depleted, there is an increasing wood shortage causing a steep charcoal price increase. Kijani Forestry’s approach to tree nurseries helps create a sustainable source of income for Ugandans and helps combat deforestation. 

East African Power

East African Power (EAP) is an integrated renewable energy development company delivering affordable and reliable clean energy. Formed in 2012, EAP is a long-term, social-impact-oriented business developing, building and operating small and medium hydro and solar power plants in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through their work, they help develop clean and affordable energy to less privileged areas in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Open Doors

Open Doors stresses the importance of having a physical building for a church to meet. Their business was founded to provide a church space that resembles the business model of shared office spaces. Primarily operating in dense urban areas, Open Doors spaces are accommodating for several church bodies to meet and have capability for childhood daycare services throughout the day. They rent out space to fill churches’ needs, with several different size and bundle options. 

In accordance with Samford University's policy, participants will  be  required to wear face masks, regardless of vaccination status, in all public indoor settings. Learn more.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.