Published on November 4, 2014 by Kara Kennedy  
Dwight Beeson Hall at night

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.

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 a 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 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. 

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About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.