Published on November 16, 2015 by Kara Kennedy  
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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.
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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.