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2016 Academy

August 1 - 5, 2016

Hosted at Biola University

Los Angeles, CA


2016 Academy

August 1 - 5, 2016

Hosted at Biola University

Los Angeles, CA


A SELECT GROUP OF students are ACCEPTED to the annual academy class and convened for a 5 day experience to delve deeply into the intersection of theology, culture, and entrepreneurship.
the annual gathering features:

Tailored Programming

We place significant emphasis on personal interaction, intimate settings for serious conversations, and custom-fit programs tailored for each student's interests, passions, and talents. 

Inspiring Community

More of a community than a conference, Academy participants build life-long relationships with a community of like-minded peers from around the world. Academy students also connect to the broader Praxis community, which includes Praxis Fellows -- over 100 entrepreneurs who have been through a Praxis Accelerator -- the Praxis Core Team, Venture Partners, Scholars, and Praxis Mentors. 

Applied Learning

Praxis brings a unique perspective on application; we focus on synthesizing multiple inputs and developing a personal point of view, reaching beyond the challenge of creating a sustainable venture to the ultimate goal building a flourishing life. As someone who participated said "Praxis builds entrepreneurs not just startups."

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program details


program details


AN INSPIRING GROUP OF Undergraduates & RECENT GRADUATES ARE SELECTED EACH YEAR through an application process. We’re looking for exceptional individuals that are:

  • entrepreneurial in heart & mind (starting a venture is not a pre-requisite, but a demonstrated interest for entrepreneurship is important) 
  • interested in exploring how to embody the Gospel in all of life
  • humble, teachable, and value mentorship
  • desiring to serve & give to others
  • serious about Jesus, life, and vocational excellence


Our aim is to provide participants with the vision, knowledge, relationships, and opportunities needed to NAVIGATE a career of entrepreneurship in business, nonprofits, and social enterprises alike. We provide:

  • engaging, interactive presentations by Christian thought leaders and practitioners creating culture through entrepreneurship
  • exclusive Praxis content on building organizations, along with time and space to process and share your own vision and ideas with others
  • a lifetime network of peers with a shared vision for entrepreneurship as a means for impacting our world in the decades ahead
  • personal access to attending Praxis Fellows, Christ-following business and nonprofit entrepreneurs working out their faith in active startup ventures
  • interaction with Praxis Faculty, entrepreneurial leaders with decades of experience at the intersection of deep faith & world-class competency
  • opportunity for priority application to the Future Founders Program, an entrepreneurial apprenticeship with past Praxis Fellows -- entrepreneurs who are leading high-growth ventures around the globe -- along with additional mentorship from the Praxis Core Team and Mentors, and a summer-long curriculum around starting a new venture with like-minded peers 




  • Includes all program materials, five days/four nights of lodging, all meals, snacks, & beverages throughout the event, and transportation to/from the airport and during the event (no need to rent a car)
  • Participants are responsible for their own airfare/transportation to either LAX Airport, or to the Biola Campus; once at the event, everything is included 
  • Upon acceptance, you have the option to pay program fees in full, or make a $100 deposit & pay the balance by June 1.
  • We don't like hidden fees, so there are no application, service, or credit card fees


Through the generous support of donors and Praxis Academy Partner Schools, we are excited to provide thousands of dollars in scholarship to help students attend the Academy each summer. There are two main scholarship options:  

  • NEED BASED: After being accepted, students can apply for a need based scholarship.
    We highly encourage students to think entrepreneurially about funding their program fees prior to applying for a scholarship, as it's an essential skill for entrepreneurs to build. We've seen previous students make creative online campaigns, write proposals to their school (yes, even non faith-based schools have provided grants for their students to attend!), relatives, or create small businesses to fund their way. 
  • PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM: Schools participating in our University Partnership Program at the Partner, Affiliate I, Affiliate II levels have scholarships available for their students (for a current list of schools participating, click here)
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Praxis Academy Faculty include founders across business, nonprofits, and social enterprises -- both domestic and international -- as well as authors, speakers, and cultural thought leaders



Praxis Academy Faculty include founders across business, nonprofits, and social enterprises -- both domestic and international -- as well as authors, speakers, and cultural thought leaders

Below is a list of previous Praxis Academy Faculty. To view the most up to date list for 2016 Academy, please visit: www.praxislabs.org/academy/faculty

Dave Blanchard

Praxis Co-Founder & CEO


Founder & CEO, Krochet Kids

henry kaestner

Co-Founder, Bandwith.com
Co-Founder, Sovereign's Capital

SteveN Garber

Founder, The Washington Institute & Award Winning Author


President, Made to Flourish


Former President, Zipcar


CEO, HOPE International


Founder & CEO, FreeTextbooks

Jessica Kim

Founder, BabbaCo
President, Barefoot Books


Founder & CEO, Chatham Financial


Partner, Just Business

Jon Hart

Director, Praxis Academy
Chairman, 100cameras


Founder & CEO, Gifted

Liz forkin bohannon

Founder, Sseko Designs

STeve graves

Founder, Coaching by Cornerstone


Executive Director, A House on Beekman

Kurt Keilhacker

Founder, TechFund Capital
Chairman, Veritas Forum


President, Gordon College


Jena Lee Nardella

Founder, Blood:Water Mission

Will Haughey

Founder & Chief Blockhead, Tegu

Josh Kwan

Praxis Co-Founder & Partner


Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership


Co-Founder, Able Lending

Shannon sedgwick daviS

CEO, Bridgeway Foundation






You seem smart and we bet you have a lot of smart questions. We think we might know some of them so check out the answers below. If you don't see your question asked here, shoot us an email.

Q. Do I need to have a startup or idea to apply?

A. No. Although the application will ask about this, we're simply gathering information to design the best program experience possible for each individual, if accepted. 

In addition to supporting those who have ventures, our aim is to support those who are entrepreneurial in heart, are considering being an entrepreneur, or working at a startup. In our time, startups are rapidly changing the landscape of our culture. There is a unique opportunity to create and shape culture in new ways through startups of all kinds, and we want to equip believers to think about this in a gospel-centered, redemptive way. 

Roughly 40% of the 2014 Academy class had some form of entrepreneurial experience; this included a handful of students who were already working on ventures full-time. From what they told us, they got just as much out of the Academy experience as those who were still wrestling with the 'what should I do with my life' question. We think life is iterative and our passions, pursuits, and ideas change over time. That's why we designed the Academy to help you answer those questions now, but also, to think about how to answer them for years to come. 

Q.  I have an internship lined up for this summer - can I still attend?

A. Yes. After doing some research, we decided on these dates because many internship programs will be completed, or have the option to be completed by that point, and for most schools, it's still a few weeks before fall semester begins. 

Oh, and congratulations. You've worked hard and are ready to get out there and learn what this whole 'real world experience' thing is all about, and internships can be a great learning experience. Be sure to read up on the Future Founders Program, and perhaps next summer you'll be apprenticing with the founder of a startup. 

Q. I'm not sure if this whole startup thing is for me, so it seems like the Praxis Academy isn't for me - true? 

A. We're picking up what you're putting down. College is a confusing time. Academy is actually designed to help determine if entrepreneurship is a path for you. We realize not everyone who attends will end up starting a venture, but even if you don't, we believe that you will still gain valuable insight into how to creatively integrate the gospel into your work. 

Q. Who will the mentors and speakers be? 

A. A preview of the 2015 Faculty can be found here. More Faculty will be announced as we get closer to Academy; to get a general idea, take a look at our Fellows, Mentors and Expert Network of inspiring people who have participated in Praxis in the past. A more official announcement of speakers and mentors is forthcoming this spring.

Q. Will I have the opportunity to make funding pitches to potential investors? 

A. While there will be no formal pitch event or demo day at the Academy, we will have sessions dedicated to learning about raising capital to fund your venture, and have experts on hand who have successfully raised millions of dollars for various types of ventures. We encourage relationships to be built organically, like how you pick your friends.  

We do have an informal pitch night amongst the Academy students where our hope is that you find others who are similarly passionate about issues or different problems in the world -- and perhaps meet your next co-founder with a complimentary skill set to someday start a venture together. 

 Q. What happens after the Academy? 

A. Our hope is you build long-lasting relationships that continue far beyond this week as you pursue what God has purposed your life for. We think an effective way to do this is for local groups of students to continue to gather throughout the school year and encourage one another. 

For those interested in seriously pursuing entrepreneurship, we encourage you to apply for our Future Founders Program. Our Fellows also frequently have job opportunities that we post, and of course -- the big dream is that Academy students would start ventures that one day are accepted into one of the Praxis Accelerator programs. 

 Q. Are there scholarships available? 

A. The short answer is: yes.

The longer answer is that we will first encourage students to work to fundraise -- either through connecting with leaders at their school to find scholarship money, or personal fundraising. We had a number of students in the 2014 Academy class do this successfully, and it was a great way for them to have experienced something that every entrepreneurs must go through: the (oftentimes) awkward process of asking people for money to fund something that you are passionate about. 

All that said, there will be a limited number of need-based scholarships available to cover a portion of the program fees. Early application submissions are encouraged for scholarship consideration. 


 Q. Where is the program located?

A. Our Fellows are running ventures (literally) around the world; while some Fellows will have International Opportunities, most will be based in the domestic offices of the organizations for the 2015 program. 

In addition to 6-weeks on-site at a Praxis Fellow organization, all students in the Future Founders Cohort will convene at the 2015 Academy as the capstone for their summer experience, from August 3-7, 2015. 

 Q. What kind of work will I be doing? 

A. Our aim is to provide you with the knowledge, network, and hands-on experience in order to one day start your own venture. If you dream of starting the next Google, charity: water, or TOMS, we'll have experiences that cross all three sectors (for-profit, not-for-profit and social). 

There will also be a 6-week curriculum during Future Founders that all students in the Cohort will participate in. This will be done remotely through video hangouts. 

Finally, the 7th week of the program, students will have the ability to work from anywhere they choose, as they work on a project which they will present to their peers during the 8th week of the program -- the capstone -- at the 2015 Academy, August 3-7. 

 Q. Okay, now I'm excited. What can I do to better position myself for one of these opportunities? 

A. Students who attend the Annual Praxis Academy have the best chance at being accepted into the Future Founders program, so we encourage all students to first apply to the Academy in their Sophomore, or Junior year. This will provide an opportunity to get to know more about the expectations of the program, about Praxis, our team, our Fellows, and meet with people who will help you prepare your application for Future Founders the following summer. 

We believe the pursuit of wisdom often is what leads us to clarity. If you think starting a venture is in your future, begin to prepare accordingly. Read books on startups that consider both what to-do and what not-to-do. Learn from other entrepreneurs. Pray about the possibilities and ask God to show you where there intersection of your gifts + what the world needs + what He is doing.