The third annual Lion’s Den event hosted by Samford University’s Brock School of Business drew a record crowd of people from seven countries, 23 states and 58 cities who came to see four international entrepreneurs present in a Shark Tank–style format.
The four finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 20 applicants of entrepreneurial companies that are either in the startup phase or had a business track record. These international entrepreneurs presented their business ideas to a capacity audience of more than 300, and then the audience voted on the business that had the best likelihood of its business plan surviving and attracting investors.
The companies also presented to a panel that looked for how the companies would be focused on producing financial, social, environmental and sustainable results in their chosen endeavors, also known as the “quadruple bottom-line” in the Lion’s Den applicant criteria.
Verdant Frontiers, a company that is fighting poverty through the creation of large-scale, for-profit businesses in developing markets, was voted the best survivor at this year’s Lion’s Den.
The 2016 finalists were as follows:
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, 410 Medical provides life-saving devices that enable rapid-flow IV infusion to front-line medical providers.
Based in South Africa, Campitor is investing long-term in the agricultural development of east and south Africa.
LivFul develops and distributes mosquito repellent and other products designed to improve health and transform communities.
Verdant Frontiers researches agricultural-based business opportunities throughout Ethiopia, looking for ventures combining investor return, social impact, risk minimization and scale potential.
“The Lion’s Den event provides an excellent opportunity for global entrepreneurs to present their business plans to a panel of experts who provide feedback on the viability, sustainability and likelihood of success,” said Drayton Nabers, director of Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, and former CEO of Birmingham-based Protective Life. “These entrepreneurs also have an opportunity to network and learn best practices from others. The event is interesting, illuminating and challenging.”
The Lion’s Den is produced by Cedarworks Inc. with the goal to inspire, educate and mobilize business owners to consider how businesses can be a vehicle to advance the kingdom of God locally and globally. Samford is the host and one of several sponsors of the event.
Kara Kennedy is director of external relations for Brock School of Business.