FROM THE REDEMPTIVE IMAGINATION SUMMIT

Where does the world need renewal, and how will entrepreneurs contribute to it?

When Dave Blanchard and Josh Kwan co-founded Praxis, they dreamed that one day they would be able to gather a community of entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, and creatives—distinctive in their Christian character and commitment, world-class in their professional capacities, and eager to support and learn from one another.

That dream took another step toward reality over three days in May 2017, when more than 250 leaders in the Praxis community gathered just outside New York City for the launch of an annual “ideas and action festival” known as the Redemptive Imagination Summit.

The Summit is not primarily about the tactics and strategies of entrepreneurship, nor is it an exploration of philosophical or market theories. Instead, the Summit is a wide array of practitioners and thinkers seeking to pursue redemptive entrepreneurship as they:

  1. Recalibrate their understanding of God’s purposes and posture toward the world, as revealed in Scripture.
  2. Cultivate a deep sense of the reality of our moment, in light of careful analysis of cultural and market trends.
  3. Imagine how venture creation can be a force for renewal in our age by addressing opportunities within these trends.
  4. Execute against that renewed imagination with excellence.

Summit Program

Here’s a sampling of over 50 plenary and breakout topics from the Summit:

Reading the Times with a Creative Mind
Breaking a Spirit of Mammon
Debating the Future of Humanity: Machines & Man
Redemptive Investing: How Might a Christian Invest Differently?
Reimagining Media: Using Words, Images, Apps, & Games to Shape Culture
Entrepreneurship as a Force for Good in the City
The Future of Entrepreneurship in Africa
The Religion of Silicon Valley: Creating a Counterscript
Christian Ambition: Growth, Rest, & Flourishing
Innovations in Venture Philanthropy
The Artist as Entrepreneur: Challenges & Opportunities in Film and Music
Authority & Vulnerability: Flourishing & the Entrepreneur
The Renewal of Finance: Restoring Trust & Widening Access

As you let these session topics wash over you, we hope you’ll sense, as we did in the room, the inexhaustible possibilities to pursue personal vocation and market innovation at the intersection of theology, culture, and entrepreneurship.

These excerpts from plenary talks offer even more texture:

As Christians we have a unique opportunity to move beyond just ‘doing the right thing’ in our ventures to bringing these beautiful, upside-down gospel concepts like generosity and forgiveness—things that really only make sense in the way of Jesus—into the enterprise.
And when you look at the products and services and narratives that the venture is pushing into the world, it’s one thing to want to change things; it’s another to pray, ‘on Earth as it is in heaven.’ How can we actually bring that prayer into the world through venture creation?
Technology is changing the world in innumerable, wonderful ways, and Silicon Valley has no shortage of ways to tell you that that’s true. But along the way, there’s a lot of collateral damage being done — the way we relate, the way we understand the world. We’ve never been more connected; yet we’ve never seen higher rates of loneliness. We’ve never had more information; and yet we’ve never been less sure of what’s true. And so we think there’s an opportunity for businesses to be created and launched that cut against that narrative—that every technology is an unmitigated good—and try to address some of the relational and informational cracks associated with ‘business as usual.’
So I prayed, ‘If this money is going to change me, Lord, let me not make it.’
As leaders, because we’re responsible for the vulnerability of others as well as our own, it is often the case that we have to live with vulnerability that other people don’t see—I call this the drama of leadership. And this is essential to healthy leadership: that I cannot as a leader disclose to you or make you bear all the vulnerabilities I bear, because I’m here to help bear your vulnerabilities too. And I’m here to increase your authority.

2017 Business Accelerator Finale

Each year, the Praxis team works with 24 early-stage growth ventures—12 businesses and 12 nonprofits—through our Accelerator programs. The business program culminates in the Finale event at the centerpiece of the Redemptive Imagination Summit, where the fellows in the 2017 Business Accelerator program presented their ventures in 5-minute pitches for the Summit attendees.

Hosting the Finale session inside the Summit is thrilling because it is literally an incarnation of the ideas explored at the conference. We talk about ways to bring renewal to the world through venture creation—then we hear from exceptional founders who are giving their lives to that very goal. This year’s ventures are operating on several continents and span the sectors of fashion, travel insurance, search technology, media production, employee performance, healthcare, secondary education, talent marketplaces, 3D design software, outsourcing, and data analytics.

Sample their pitch presentations here, and enjoy our photo gallery of moments from the 2017 Summit, below.