“The Center (for Entrepreneurship) will give hope and opportunity to literally millions of people. This is just the start of something that will grow and become one of the most significant initiatives at Regent University.”
-Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson
Transforming people and nations through business.
Regent University’s Center for Entrepreneurship seeks to improve the economic and spiritual condition of disadvantaged populations through entrepreneurship grounded in a Christian worldview. Its vision is communities, regions and nations revitalized spiritually, socially, politically and economically.
Regent’s Center for Entrepreneurship will achieve this vision through our four key areas of focus:
- Researching frameworks and theoretical and practical foundations for kingdom business.
- Disseminating information about opportunities, best practices and the diverse network of individuals and organizations involved in kingdom business.
- Equipping practitioners, policy makers, thought leaders, researchers, teachers and trainers in the theory and practice of kingdom business through degree programs, certificates, seminars, workshops and online tutorials.
- Facilitating business start-ups and expansions by providing consulting, matchmaking and mentoring services and by conducting demonstration projects.
Click here to print RCE’s overview.
“When you start a business, the whole idea is to take that business and do what Jesus would do for those people. Business is based on need and people with needs seek services in the market.”
RCE is proud of its rich heritage and exciting past. We stand strong on the foundation that Christ changes people through business. Below is a brief outline of how we came to be, and where we’re headed.
October 3-5, 2002 – Consultation of Holistic Entrepreneurs
This conference was the inspiration of Ken Eldred and Paul Cerjan, former President of Regent University, who wanted to better understand how the Lord was using business around the world to advance the Kingdom. Dr. John Mulford, the dean of the graduate school of business at Regent at that time, and Ted Yamamori, the distinguished visiting professor of holistic entrepreneurship, picked up the challenge to understand and document the global business as mission movement. Thanks to their leadership and diligent efforts, the first consultation was a resounding success, and the conference, attended by 200 men and women who were actively engaged in business as mission around the world, served as a means to gather people and information and to advance networking in this arena.
July 28, 2003 – On Kingdom Business is Published
The book On Kingdom Business edited by Ken Eldred and Ted Yamamori essentially reproduces in edited form most of the presentations made at the consultation. God is moving mightily on the hearts of many Christians in business to minister to the poor in developing countries through business—what some call Business as Mission or Kingdom Business. The need is great—billions of people living in abject poverty and spiritual darkness.
December 5, 2005 – Regent University Center for Entrepreneurship officially Launches!
While RCE can trace its roots to the Consultation of Holistic Entrepreneurs, Dr. John Mulford started the Center to be a “think-and-do” tank for kingdom business. RCE believes that all things are possible. The Lord has promised us the nations. Business is one of the most effective tools to accomplish the work of the King as we prepare for his coming.
Since the launch of the Center, we have participated in projects all over the world – Albania, Argentina, Cameroon, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, Peru and Ukraine. We have also held a number of Roundtable Discussions, Symposia, and Discovery Days and have had many pieces published in books and journals.
August 2010 – RCE Launches the First Model Business Development Center (BDC) in Kigali, Rwanda
With the ultimate vision of a global network of business development centers (BDCs), Dr. John Mulford and Jason Benedict set out to create one model center. They found Rwanda to be an ideal place to begin because of the ease of doing business. The Center partnered with the International Christian Chamber of Commerce and the Rwandan Development Board to fund, recruit, and run the 14-week entrepreneurship training course. (As of this writing, we have successfully graduated three cohorts of entrepreneurs.)
August 2010-2015—Rwanda and The Growth and Expansion of Licensed BDCs
Our flagship BDC, Rwanda, (www.bdcrwanda.com) originally launched through our partnership with ICCC in August of 2010. It was operated at a distance by RCE, through training and supporting entrepreneurs who were starting and growing businesses in all sectors of the economy. About 275 have graduated from the first 11 cohorts of the 14-week training program. Half of the graduates are currently running businesses which are transforming their lives and the lives of many others.
BDC Expansion—To impact the world, we need hundreds of BDC’s. Because RCE doesn’t want to operate a large organization—we are a catalyst—we decided to license the BDC concept to organizations and individuals who share our passion to transform people and nations through business. We developed a license package and opened the first licensed site in 2012—Bangalore, India (www.bdcbangalore.com). The second licensed site opened in 2013—Kampala, Uganda (www.bdcuganda.com). The third licensed site opened in 2014 – Stellenbosch, South Africa. In 2015, our fourth site opened in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Also in 2015, two of BDC Rwanda’s graduates became our fifth and newest licensees, representing a major milestone in our efforts to develop local leaders and carry on the initial work that began in 2010.
Looking Toward the Future
The start of 2016 brings a number of exciting projects on the horizon for RCE. We are looking to continue licensing our business development center curriculum and programming to other organizations who may want to join the global network. Additionally, we are pursuing breaking-edge research in the field of kingdom impact investing and franchising. We are poised and ready to expand quickly by engaging many licensees in many nations.
God’s plan is bigger than ours, but we are excited to be along for the ride!
“Ask of Me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
Current Initiatives & Business Development Centers*
Meet the Team
John E. Mulford, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
John Mulford, has been uniquely prepared by God to lead this effort. The seed was planted more than 35 years ago in bachelor’s and PhD programs that focused on economic development. It was watered over the last 23 years at Regent through studying what the Bible says about business, observing the superiority of markets over government planning, and exposure to world missions through Regent and CBN.
His enduring passion for economic development for the disadvantaged now coincides with the awakening of business people to opportunities for business as mission. John Mulford came to Regent University in 1982 as a founding faculty member in the School of Business. In 1990, he was named dean and served in this position through the summer of 2004. From 1994-1997 and 2000-01, Mulford served as Regent’s Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations, overseeing all the business functions of the university. From 1994 to 2002, he served as Chief Investment Officer, managing the university’s endowment.
Before coming to Regent, Mulford conducted policy research at the Rand Corporation and served as Vice President and Senior Economist at First Interstate Bank of California. His housing research at Rand, published in monographs and articles, influenced the design of federal housing programs in the 1970’s and 80’s. His work on the dynamics of a housing program’s enrollment was published in Management Science. At First Interstate Bank, he advised the senior management on credit models and consumer deposit instruments.
At Regent, Mulford has taught economics, statistics, and management science, but his passion has been developing a comprehensive Christian worldview of business and equipping those called to business with the tools to glorify God in their work. He has a particular interest in seeing disadvantaged groups advance through entrepreneurial activity. Currently, Mulford teaches electives in international entrepreneurship in the PhD program. He collaborates with students, faculty, and graduates to research topics in kingdom entrepreneurship and develop business plans and launch businesses both in the U.S. and globally. Groups are studying how to measure spiritual capital, how to measure the kingdom impact of businesses, and how to think about investing in kingdom companies that have multiple bottom lines. Student and graduate businesses include consulting companies in Asia and Africa, a manufacturing business in Egypt, and a specialty coffee company in the U.S. and Latin America.
Learn more about Dr. Mulford in an exclusive interview, here.
“There is an enormous need for people to bring eternal hope for the soul and tangible hope for the body. Christian entrepreneurs can do both, but they need help in the form of theoretical foundations, practical models that work, education and training, and connectedness so they don’t feel alone in such a huge task.”
- Cornell University, Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning
- Brown University, B.S. in Engineering, Magna Cum Laude
Areas of Expertise
- Servant leadership
- Industry analysis and strategy
- Business ethics
- Statistics, economics, and management science
Research and Publications
- Christian view of cooperation and competition in business
- Cases and course materials on ethical issues in business
- The Word on Management, co-authored with Bruce Winston, JKO Publishing, 1996 (Contact RCE to purchase)
- “Policy Models for CEO’s: A Case Study in Banking,” Interfaces
- “To War on Poverty: A Christian Economist on the Bible and State Involvement,” Christianity Today
- Housing Consumption in a Housing Allowance Program, Rand Corp., 1984
- Consumption Increases Caused by Housing Assistance Programs, Rand Corp., 1982
John E. Mulford
Manager of Communications, Special Projects, & Admin.
RCE Strategist, MBA; MA, Missiology