On Thursday, April 29 six highly motivated, entrepreneurial teams went head-to-head in the Impact Venture Challenge, with senior accounting major Courtney Allen ultimately winning $5,000 to put toward her business plan.
Allen’s organization, Accounting Beyond Borders, is a non-profit organization focusing on providing low-cost accounting services to missionaries specifically in Panama. After a visit to Panama, Allen noticed the missionaries she volunteered with were spending too much time maintaining financial accounts than spending time on what God had called them to do.
After that trip, “God planted a seed” within her heart and through countless hours of work and learning, she realized God was calling her to use her passion for accounting and helping others to create her organization that meets the needs of God’s people.
Now, Allen plans to file a 501-C which would allow her to become an official organization. Additionally, she wants to apply for tax exemptions that would let her receive donations. This summer she plans on heading back to Panama to work with two local ministries.
She says the most important step is networking and expanding her team to accommodate such high interest. In five years, she hopes to expand Accounting Beyond Borders to other countries with interest, such as Africa and even the United States. She would also like to higher more CPAs and launch a CPA volunteer and internship program.
Besides Accounting Beyond Borders, two other teams took home cash prizes. The third place winner, Omega Swap, took home $1,000. This organization strives to connect students who want to buy, sell or trade the used and unwanted items or services at their campus and nearby campuses. This team created a website that is similar to “Craig’s List” just for college students.
The second place winner, who walked away with $3,000 was Sapwood, a company focusing on reforestation efforts by providing funds from selling their unique wood-infused air fresheners. The company has already signed contracts with retailers and manufacturers to expand their business in the next year.
The Impact Venture Challenge provides students the opportunity to use their passion for business and their interests to create something much bigger than them and impact the world for years to come.
Allen, for one, was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Impact Venture Challenge and use it as a platform to promote her organization. The contest allowed her the time to sit down and develop a business and financial model as well as answer important questions that will shape her organization today.
Congratulations to all finalists and we look forward to seeing how God will water the seed in your life.