A bridge to the future
Liberty University’s degree in entrepreneurship has inspired the tight-knit group of students who earn the degree every year to change their communities and empower others to use their God-given abilities.
Sara Kindt is a senior entrepreneurship student, but she came to Liberty with a different major in mind.
“(There) was kind of a heart change of what I wanted to do, where I felt like the Lord was leading me and what I was supposed to do in life,” Kindt said. “I felt like the business background would give me a better understanding of the industry I wanted to go in.”
With her degree, she plans to empower and encourage others to make positive societal change through business initiatives.
“My passion is nonprofit (work) and finding a way to meet, maybe not necessarily a product need, but a people group need,” Kindt said.
Kindt said the program attracts a diverse group of students, and those in the program have been able to get to know each other really well.
“(Entrepreneurship) is very diverse and versatile,” Kindt said. “You can use it in any industry and market, but the program is just super fun. … And (Dr. George Young) is super concerned about you as a student, but that also you understand the importance of the why behind the material he’s giving.”
She said the entrepreneurship program has given her the ability and the tools to work in nonprofit management, which is her dream. To Kindt, the program’s most valuable asset has been how hands-on the coursework is.
“I have skin in the game,” Kindt said.
In her Introduction to Entrepreneurship class, Kindt and her classmates were assigned to come up with a business plan. They collaborated on The Bridge, a nonprofit that benefits inner city students. The Center for Entrepreneurship also works with The Bridge to help support the student-led nonprofit.
“We all wanted to meet the need of inner-city Lynchburg,” Kindt said “We wanted to… look at it from a biblical worldview perspective… those are people (in) need. Those people still need Jesus.”
The Bridge was formed to connect inner city youth with local small businesses and Liberty entrepreneurship students and train them in the ways of an entrepreneur. Kindt saw this not only as responsible social work, but as kingdom work.
“And so basically the idea was born of helping students to first realize who they were and what they were created for, and then giving them an avenue in order to pursue that passion,” Kindt said.
She said she would love to see students plugged into a local business, which concentrates in something the students are passionate about.
“The Center for Entrepreneurship has been onboard from day one,” Kindt said. “So, this started out just a class project. But GY (Dr. George Young) loved it, and the entrepreneurship program caught wind of it.”
Through financial contributions, connections and other resources, the Center for Entrepreneurship partnered with The Bridge and Kindt to make the startup happen.
But it has not been a breeze. The Bridge has experienced failure and adversity. But Kindt is not giving up.
“It’s not a degrading thing,” Kindt said. “It’s more of like a fire under us to push us to do better and getting it right the next time. So, it’s not you fall down, and you stay down. It’s you fall down, you learn why you fell down, and you get back up so you don’t fall down the same way again.”
Her coursework prepared her to not only start a nonprofit, but also how to troubleshoot and problem solve with a Biblical worldview.
“How can we use business to do what Jesus has told us to do in the word?” Kindt said. “So, when it says to take care of orphans and widows, how can we create a product or business that will provide specifically for orphans and widows?”
That first entrepreneurship class with Young taught her that starting a business is not as unattainable as she originally thought.
Kindt said the distinguishing factor between the entrepreneurship program and other business degrees, even on her resume or job applications, is the amount of hands on, meaningful work she has been a part of.
“I feel having experienced what Liberty has given me in through The Bridge and everything that I’ve experienced … (that it’s) more credible to people,” Kindt said.
Dr. George Young
Associate Business Professor Dr. George Young said the entrepreneurship program seeks to aid students with business knowledge through a lens of corporate and social responsibility.
“Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, and it’s about really delving into the invisible hand that we talk about in economics and finding out what God has you hardwired to do,” Young said.
Young said his hope as a professor is that his students know the processes for starting any kind of business, then incubating that business.
“We look at (entrepreneurship) through our Christian worldview,” Young said. “To love thy neighbor is to go really help society. I think the benefit internally is unbelievable because (the students) are helping society, and there’s a cohesiveness from a human relations perspective, and you’re starting to think more about bigger things than just getting raincoats made effectively and efficiently.”