Asbury Project Conference Returns to Wilmore – Asbury University
Shapemaximize playTriangle

November 10, 2015

The Asbury Project 2015 Winners
The grand prize winners of The Asbury Project 2015 (pictured here) will be awarded $3,000 for their winning business plan.

WILMORE, Ky. — The Asbury Project, a conference exploring business, mission and social entrepreneurship, was co-hosted by Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary last week, Nov. 5 and 6.

More than 200 registered guests took advantage of breakout sessions, a film screening, Chapel messages, a symposium panel and more, including more than 120 students, faculty and staff from Asbury University.

“The Asbury Project really helped me think about how every aspect of business has a social impact,” said AU student Nathan Russell ’16. “In today’s world, a business person can have just as much social impact as someone in a ministry field, and that’s exciting for me.”

Twenty-five conference participants also submitted business plans in the Student Business Plan Competition, which awarded a total of $10,000 to five winning business plans for social entrepreneurship — $3,000 for one grand prize winner, $2,000 for two first-place winners and $1,500 for two second-place winners (one each from Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary).

The following students placed in this year’s Student Business Plan Competition:

  • Grand Prize, Asbury University:​  Running Social — Jesse Peterson ‘16, Colton Cary ‘17 and Julie Spaulding ’17
  • First Prize, Asbury Theological Seminary:​  What’s Poppin’ — Jonathan Collins and Taylor King
  • Second Prize, Asbury Theological Seminary:​ The Carpenter Shop —William O’Neal (ATS) & Josh Moon ’17 (Asbury University)
  • First Prize, Asbury University: Hoops Academy — Todd Jefferson ‘15 and Wesley Springer ‘17
  • Second Prize, Asbury University: United Church Management — Jordan U’Wren ‘17, Matthew Morton ’16 and Tanner Record ‘17

Running Social, this year’s Grand Prize winner, was a team effort by Asbury University students Jesse Peterson ‘16, Colton Cary ‘17 and Julie Spaulding ’17. A fitness app, Running Social leverages social media to help people meet their goals while raising money for non-profit organizations.

“The way it works is when someone sets a ‘goal’ they want to accomplish, it is posted to their social media where all of their friends can see it,” Peterson said. “It then gives the option for their friends to make donations to a charity that the goal setter has selected and the money will be donated once the goal setter accomplishes their goal. If the goal is not accomplished the money will be refunded to the donors.”

For Peterson, The Asbury Project was valuable not only for the practical instruction offered, but also for the new connections made possible by the event.

“It is a great place to network and find opportunities from people that are brought to our campus through The Asbury Project,” Peterson said. “I know from my own experience I was able to meet some really cool people that might have some opportunities I can take advantage of on down the road.”

Throughout the weekend, the Asbury Project featured several distinguished speakers, included Jenna Lee Nardella, co-founder of Blood:Water, an organization that has brought clean water to more than a million people in Africa; Dr. Stephen Garber, the principal of The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture; and Robert E. Armstrong, district judge of Dallas Country, Ala. In a panel discussion on Friday, Nardella encouraged young entrepreneurs to recognize the blessing, responsibility and opportunity of business.

“There’s a lot of need in the world for the excited energy, idealism and vision of young entrepreneurs,” Nardella said. “Not everyone in the world gets that opportunity. See it as an offering that you can make for others, and don’t bulldoze past people in the process of trying to be successful. The invitation to be able to pour out your creativity and your gifting is a beautiful thing.”

To learn more about Asbury’s Howard Dayton School of Business, visit: