Published on November 16, 2015 by Kara Kennedy  

In the second year of The Lion’s Den entrepreneurial event at Samford University, four companies — Branch Technology, CloudFactory, Earthwise Ferries and Spring Back Recycling — competed in front of more than 325 people and a panel of experts. 

The Shark Tank-style event was created by Birmingham-based Cedarworks Inc. as a way to inspire, educate and mobilize professionals to better use their time, talents and resources to generate financial, social, environmental and spiritual returns for their stakeholders.

The audience selected CloudFactory as the company that best survived panelists’ questioning on stakeholder returns and the most likely profitable business model. CloudFactory connects businesses to talented people around the world through their unique software and workflow processes. The Durham, North Carolina, and Nepali-based company has clients ranging from ESPN, Deloitte, Microsoft, UNC Chapel Hill, and high-growth technology companies such as Expensify, Duolingo and ReadyCart. 

 “Our team of Birmingham business leaders are delighted with the tremendous success of our second-year event that attracted so many business builders, operators, entrepreneurs and investors from 48 cities, 20 states and six countries,” said Cedarworks Inc. board chairman Mabry Smith III.

Attendees also had the opportunity to become involved in Business as Mission through networking with the companies and meeting with other leaders and participants in the Business as Mission marketplace. A special auction was held during the event and benefited the craftsmen and exhibitor Magic City Wood Works. The nonprofit uses an apprenticeship program to help young men ages 18–25 in Birmingham gain job skills and a positive life experience through woodworking, learning small-business skills and mentoring youth.

“An important strategic goal of our business school is to prepare our students to achieve professional success while integrating their Christian faith in the workplace. This event provided outstanding examples for our students and faculty to experience business success coupled with Gospel outreach,” said Brock School of Business dean Howard Finch.
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.