This story was originally published as part of the winter edition of The Master’s University Magazine. Read the full magazine here.
Successful entrepreneurship often comes as the result of intensive mentorship and investment.
This is precisely what The Master’s University’s entrepreneurship program is now offering through its Innovation Lab.
Students accepted into the Lab receive access to office space and supplies, advice from volunteer consultants, and the potential for seed financing. The overall goal is to foster hands-on skill development in venture formation and to help students build businesses that glorify Christ.
The capstone project for every student in TMU’s new entrepreneurship program is to develop a business plan and present it “Shark Tank” style to Christian businesspeople from TMU’s network. For those accepted into the Innovation Lab, the capstone includes an opportunity to meet investors through TMU’s business faculty.
“Entry into the Lab will be competitive,” Beck said, “because we’re going to be putting a lot of investment and attention into these ventures. But we’re really optimistic about the results that can come from that level of support.”
In fact, Beck has seen evidence that this kind of support works.
“We’ve already begun to do this,” he said. “Two years ago, I started taking proposals from TMU students for businesses that could easily be hatched with a little bit of support and investment.”
Two such ideas have already been launched — one a coffee subscription service and the other a video production company. The latter required greater initial investment but is going strong to this day.
“That idea involved an investment of about $10,000, as well as a lot of expertise and advice,” Beck says. “It’s still ongoing, and while it’s not a growth business, it’s a business that has benefitted from its connection with TMU. And, I might add, they’re supporting the mission of the local church and putting the character of Christ on display in the way they do business. And that’s really our heart behind all of this.”
Whether or not an incubated idea turns into a successful company, the Innovation Lab will give students a prime opportunity for experiential learning. Graduates of the program will have interviewed potential customers, created a minimum viable product under a tight deadline, and worked with a team to accomplish business goals.
“But mostly — and this is key,” Beck said, “they will have experience networking and building relationships in the broader ecosystem that’s going to support their efforts after they leave TMU.”
As Beck looks to the future of the program, he has high hopes.
“It would be nice to have one believing billionaire come out of our program who can go on to leverage that wealth for Kingdom purposes.”
Ultimately, the Innovation Lab is just the latest development in the business department’s ongoing mission.
“Our goal is to support biblically-informed and Spirit-led agents of the Kingdom in the commercial sphere,” Beck said. “To say it another way, we’re all about making marketplace ministers.”
The Master’s University and Seminary admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
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Santa Clarita, CA 91321
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