Have you ever had a big idea? While carrying an idea for a startup often feels empowering and exciting, bringing that idea to life is a process full of challenges that can feel so impossible to navigate that often those ideas never become a reality. Whether it be the insecurity that comes from comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs who seem smarter and more confident, or the daunting task of seeking funding during a financially difficult time, there are always a million reasons to tuck that big idea away and never let it see the light of day.

The Biola University Startup Competition seeks to provide the Biola community with the opportunity to bring business and nonprofit ideas to life while also providing the resources and mentorship necessary to make it happen. The message of this competition, and the Office of Innovation that runs it, is that every human is capable of redemptive entrepreneurship that gets those big ideas off the ground to make a Christlike impact in the world.

Part of the success of this competition is the collaboration of diverse individuals of different strengths and backgrounds partnering together on a singular mission. It can be easy to believe the misconception that other competitors are more informed and equipped and think, “I’m not meant for this competition.” But as we examine the winners of the 2020-2021 Startup Competition, what becomes clear is that the only unifying tie between all of the participants is the possession of a big idea fueled by passion. Coming from different majors, age groups, and cultures, their success is not marked by their resemblance to the “ideal entrepreneur.” Instead, these participants find their strength in believing that their unique gifts and qualities make them the ideal entrepreneur when channeled towards making an impact in the world.

Comparison can quickly become buying into the lie that others are better. But appreciation of the strengths of others can actually become a pathway to growth when used to fuel momentum and hard work. Sarah Hartono, senior business administration major and member of the winning team The Great Exchange, explains her experience with this.

“The competition each year gets steeper and steeper. There were so many times that I doubted our idea because I knew our competition was so strong,” described Hartono., “In a way, we were able to use this as a motivator to push the status quo and discover new ways to improve our idea. Iron sharpens iron!”

This is the heart of godly entrepreneurship. While the world encourages us to compare ourselves in order to outperform and outshine others, God reminds us as Christians that we are all on the same team, using our unique gifts and passions to make an impact on the world in His image. Thus, diversity of background and skills becomes an opportunity to broaden the span of impact.

So if you have ever had an idea that you think could make an impact, you already have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. God does not give us anything he does not intend to use, and that includes the passions he has filled your heart with. The Startup Competition is the perfect opportunity to bring your ideas to the table and learn from the wisdom of others how to bring them to life, and it is looking for someone just like you.

The Biola Startup Competition begins with the Kickoff on September 27th, 2021. For more information on the competition, visit the startup event webpage.
Written by Lindsey Hayden, Operations and Marketing Coordinator for the Office of Innovation.