Asbury Marketplace Summit Inspires Students to Pursue Calling – Asbury University
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November 12, 2018

Asbury University business students were encouraged and inspired to dream big at the annual Marketplace Summit (formerly The Asbury Project). The annual two-day event is co-hosted by the University’s Dayton School of Business and Asbury Theological Seminary’s Office of Faith, Work and Economics. Scroll down to view a photo gallery!

Students attended workshops, seminars and a film screening, all while learning the ins and outs of social entrepreneurship and the essential connection between faith and business. The weekend culminated with a business plan competition, in which students competed for cash prizes to launch their business ideas. (See competition results below!)

In Asbury’s Dayton School of Business, students learn to build a business plan in the Small Business Management course. Many of those students use the Marketplace Summit as an outlet to present the plans they create in that course. Additionally, these students often enter state-wide and regional business plan competitions throughout the academic year.

Founder and Chairman of Capital III Pete Ochs spoke in Chapel and held Friday’s social entrepreneurship lunch. Ochs, who uses his platform to employ and provide programming for inmates from a high security prison in Kansas, spoke in depth about his investment company and ministry.

Ochs shared about how he came to surrender his finances and career to Christ in Friday morning’s Chapel and encouraged students to do the same.

“In order to be surrendered, we have to be all in,” Ochs said. “We have to understand what our purpose is. If you’re going to live a high-impact life, I would pray that you would have a Christ-centered purpose. I pray that you would live with great passion.”

A special screening of the film “To Whom is Given: Business for the Common Good” was held in Kinlaw Library Friday afternoon. The film highlights stories from Christian business owners who live out their faith and calling through “ordinary” work. Additionally, one of the featured entrepreneurs, Christopher Brooks, shared the vision behind the film. Brooks is campus dean of Moody Theological Seminary-Michigan and also serves as pastor of Evangel Ministries in Detroit, Mich.

The two-day event culminated in a business plan competition, in which 10 students from both the University and ATS presented their business plans, competing for a total of $10,000 in prize money to launch their businesses.

Lex Sports Outreach took home the University’s First Place award as well as the People’s Choice award. The business, which was founded three years ago by Austin Baker ’19, serves middle and high school students in the greater Lexington area by providing afterschool and soccer programming.

Fionn McCarten ’20 and Joseph Harper ’21 represented their team during Friday afternoon’s presentation competition, highlighting the work that Lex Sports Outreach has been doing with students from local schools.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” McCarten said. “We put a lot of work in but it’s just great to see it pay off. I’m just really excited to see what we can do with this money.”

This year’s competition winners include:

  • Grand Prize- Parrish Pottery: Paulk & Shelby Rhea Parrish (ATS)
  • Asbury University First Place- Lex Sports Outreach: Noah Welch ‘20, Austin Baker ‘19, Joseph Harper ’21 and Fionn McCarten ‘20
  • Asbury University Second Place- The Bird Table: Randall Hardman (MSW)
  • ATS First Place- Robinson Records: A.J. Robinson
  • ATS Second Place- Experience Woodworking- Sam Gindlesberger
  • People’s Choice- Lex Sports Outreach: Noah Welch ‘20, Austin Baker ‘19, Joseph Harper ’21 and Fionn McCarten ‘20

ATS students Paulk and Shelby Rhea Parrish took home the grand prize and will use the money to expand Parrish Pottery, a business in which they sell handmade clay home goods as well as teach in-studio pottery courses.

“I’m really excited to put this back into my business and really get it off the ground,” Parrish said. “It’s really cool to see it go from a passion to a hobby and now actually coming to fruition.” 

Associate Professor of Business Dr. Kevin Brown points out that the Marketplace Summit enhances the content that students learn in the classroom.

“It allows the students to think carefully about how they do business,” said Brown. “There’s application to what they’re learning in the classroom, but that’s quite different from having to take all of these different units in the business discipline and assimilate them together into something that’s coherent and actually being applied. Learning is occurring but also, it’s thinking creatively.”

Brown also noted that the Marketplace Summit challenges students to more thoughtfully consider how faith and career work together.

“How can I use commercial activity to achieve kingdom-oriented ends?” Brown said. “In other words, what’s the relationship between my commercial activity and my motivation as a Christian? I think there’s a very significant relationship. I think it also challenges students to imagine new ways to not only think about their faith, but also how they can apply it.”  

Learn more about Asbury University’s Dayton School of Business.