Windsor Village United Methodist Church recently hosted its CEO Marketplace 2014 to promote small businesses and entrepreneurs while raising money for a good cause.
More than 50 businesses were on hand to showcase a variety of products and services ranging from real estate and insurance to jewelry and makeup at this year’s marketplace hosted by the Christian Entrepreneurial Organizational (CEO) Ministry.
The theme of this year’s expo, “Strengthen Our Communities Through Scholarship,” highlighted the guiding mission of the marketplace.
“Our expo is the number one fundraiser for our scholarship program and we are very excited at this year’s turnout. Our mission is to assist, inform and equip business owners with the tools to operate their ventures in the biblical way and to raise funds to support students who are pursuing an education,” said CEO Ministry President Dorothy Mitchell.
The ministry has hosted 15 expos since founder Michael Evans launched the nonprofit in 1988. Since then, the organization of business owners has given away 160 scholarships totaling nearly $300,000.
The nonprofit organization started with 25 businesses and has grown to include nearly 200 businesses, according to Evans.
“At the time they did not have a ministry for the business community at Windsor Village and I told the pastor that we needed a ministry for entrepreneurs.
“Often time you might be sitting next to a person who needs a service you provide, but you don’t know because you are in church and you don’t usually talk about that,” said Evans.
The overwhelming success of the first fair opened the door of opportunity to help fund the church’s scholarship program.
“After our first entrepreneurial fair, God blessed us with such an outpouring that we had a whole lot of proceeds and we said that we are not going to just sit on the money, and I mandated right then and there that any fundraiser we put on would go to the scholarship fund,” said Evans.
For Evans, giving back to the community is a key goal of the ministry.
“I am very proud to say that we are an outreach ministry, and that anyone that qualifies and applies can be considered for a scholarship, including high school and college students or individuals attending vocational or trade schools,” said Evans.
Mitchell, who took over the helm as president of the ministry last year, is proud to continue Evan’s vision.
“Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to display their products and services to our church community to serve as another alternative and option available at the Village,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell echoed Evans’ sentiments on the scholarship program’s goal of reaching and impacting a broad audience of students.
“Our scholarship program is open to everyone, you don’t have to be a member of Windsor Village to be a recipient of a scholarship. We will start the application process in February and award scholarships in May,” said Mitchell.