FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(St. Louis, MO) — A greeting card company based in Rwanda won a business competition sponsored by the Open for Business track at Urbana 06, InterVarsity’s Student Missions Convention. Chris Page of Cards from Africa, a company that employs Rwandan orphans, accepted the $25,000 first place award. “We will use the grant on marketing to increase the demand for our cards, so that we will be able to employ more young people,” he said.
The competition was established to encourage business plans that would bring about economic, social and spiritual change in different countries around the world, help Christians think creatively about confronting global poverty, and educate students and business people to think differently about what it means to be a Christian entrepreneur. Over eighty business plans were submitted for consideration. These were narrowed to seven finalists. From these the winners were chosen. LadderWorks, an employment agency in the slums of Bangkok, received the third place grant of $5,000. An agricultural training program in Southeast Asia received the second place award of $10,000.
Chris Page, the founder of Cards from Africa, the winner of the first place award, employs children who have been made orphans either by AIDS or the genocide in Rwanda. These children are offered the dignity of useful, creative work at a living wage that allows them to care for their younger siblings. The employees of Cards from Africa also participate in discipleship training, which includes not only Bible study, but also AIDS awareness training, racial reconciliation, and grief counseling for the loss these children have sustained in their lives. The cards, made from recycled office paper, are available through various retail outlets and online at cardsfromafrica.com.
These three winners exemplify the goals of the competition: that they eventually become financially self-supporting, that they contribute in a lasting way to their communities, and that they further the kingdom of God.
Open for Business was one several special tracks at Urbana 06, InterVarsity’s Student Missions Convention. Jimmy Quach, an InterVarsity staff member who helped lead the track, said Open for Business offered convention participants a chance to “think strategically about how they can integrate their skills in business with the task of world mission.” Through seminars and networking opportunities, participants were encouraged to “think creatively in terms of doing good through for-profit enterprise, not just nonprofit organizations.”
For more information, contact Jimmy Quach at (617) 834-1967.