Awards link faith, jobs

By wayne.steffen on November 18, 2013 @ 6:54am

The Faith-Rooted Social Business Plan Contest—the first of its kind in the region sponsored by a faith-based organization—was designed to stimulate new partnerships between faith and business leaders, particularly for youth and adults with barriers to employment.

The event shows FPU's commitment to its community. "This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate what the center and the university are about," said FPU President Pete C. Menjares. "These are the first fruits of what I hope will be greater prosperity for Fresno and The Central Valley."

Entries were to create opportunities to connect small businesses with churches or non-profits to addressing unemployment, which is a tremendous challenge throughout the region. "The Bible assures us that all work is good," said Randy White, D. Min., associate professor of community transformation and executive director of CCT.

Serving as judging were Brice Yocum, J.D., assistant professor of business administration/law/ethics; John Kilroy, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business; Roy Vasquez, MBA, assistant professor of business administration/marketing and strategy; Bryan Feil (BA '07), store director, Neighborhood Thrift; and Jim Maxey, owner of JD Foods. 

Three organizations split $5,500 in prize money. Winners are:

  • First place, $2,500: Skate INK, a custom skateboard painting company created by an ex-gang member interested in the arts and staffed by nearly a dozen young people previously drifting into the gang life. The business is already painting and selling boards and plans to expand into online and other sales methods. Youth participants are learning about design, marketing, accounting and other business skills.
  • Second place, $2,000: 701 United, an inner-city fitness club for urban youth. Named for the 93701 ZIP code (the area where the club is seeking to influence youth), 701 United offers training in martial arts, including Brazilian jiu jitsu and other styles by qualified volunteer instructors. The focus is on discipline, restraint and respect. Bible study is interwoven throughout the program. 701 United meets at Fresno/Madera Youth for Christ, 1401 Divisadero St., Fresno.
  • Third place, $1,000: Say Hello, a flash-marketing company specializing in flyer distribution and other services for small businesses. This street-level ad agency employs urban youth for saturation marketing. Say Hello is sponsored by On Ramps Covenant Church, 1719 L Street, Fresno. More at

The award presentations took place November 7, 2013, in Steinert Campus Center on the main FPU campus. Part of the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, the Center for Community Transformation supports entrepreneurial creativity, spiritual freedom, economic vitality and justice, environmental integrity, cross-cultural/social collaboration and political health in the Central Valley. For more about the CCT, visit