Entrepreneurship Initiative Business Plan Competition

January 2009

The Entrepreneurship Initia-tive (or EI) launched its third business plan competition on October 5 at all five services at Redeemer and several Redeemer affiliate churches. This competition, as part of Redeemer’s vision to bring about cultural renewal, helps to identify and encourage people to apply their understanding of the gospel to their marketplace ideas and ventures for the common good. Each year the process is meant to spur all participants toward excellence in seeing how the gospel can be the foundation of a venture.
 
This year we held information sessions in an effort to share criteria for entering the competition and to introduce some of the competition’s judges. The enthusiastic responses from the people at these sessions have been inspir-ing. One performance artist told us, ‘It is so great to meet other people who have a passion for their businesses.’ 
 
This passion brought a number of people to the competition’s first workshop on the morning of October 18. Pastor Jeff White of the New Song Community Church and Katherine Leary of Redeemer’s Center led the “Developing a Gospel-Centered Venture” workshop for Faith and Work. The workshop helped participants understand Micah 4:1-8 on how the vision of the future helps shape our role and purpose and how it might manifest itself in their marketplace ideas and ventures. 
 
At the time of this article, we had our second workshop, “The Four M’s: Mission, Market, Model and Management,” led by Steering Committee members Lora Gaston and Karen Hung. Our third and final workshop is “Start-up Finance Fundamentals,” led by another committee member, Sang Ahn, on January 7, 2009. These workshops were designed primarily for the participants in the competition but also for the broader Redeemer community. In these ways we seek to develop wisdom and understanding in how the gospel impacts our ideas and ventures in the marketplace to bring about human flourishing.
 
This year we received 48 executive summaries from the Redeemer community. This is an increase of 12% adjusting for this year’s geographic limitations. Of the 48 submissions, 33 were for-profit ventures and 15 were not-for-profit. Reflecting the diversity of the Redeemer community, 20 submissions were from artists (actors, film makers, illustrators, media, and entertainment). From this group of candidates we will select some to move forward in the process and to submit more detailed business plans. Review teams comprising people with relevant industry, professional or investing experience will read each plan and select a small pool of finalists in the not-for-profit and for-profit categories. These finalists will make a presentation to the Judging Panel on February 17 and March 4 and final winners will be selected shortly afterwards.


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