One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Olivia Stipe, Student Public Relations Writer

Starting a business is difficult, but for 10 Cedarville University students, launching the jewelry company Crowned Chains has had a very successful start. 

As part of the Robert W. Plaster School of Business’ Integrated Business Core (IBC) program, the students created jewelry products, and within 20 minutes of their launch, sold $1,300 worth of products. The high volume of sales represented the largest amount of revenue for any IBC startup since the program began in 2002.  A Crowned Chain with the crown of thorns charm.

The Integrated Business Core at Cedarville is an opportunity for business and marketing students to apply their education in a real-life business. They become members of a yearlong cohort that begins in the s, and they are guided by Andrew Wonders, assistant professor of sport business management. Throughout the year, Wonders helps the students hone their business skills through various academic courses.  

In the spring, the students take Principles of Marketing with Dr. Jon Austin. Throughout the course, they develop their company and marketing strategies, and when they reach the Principles of Finance and Management courses, they apply this information directly to their own business the following year in the fall in a practicum course. In the IBC practicum course, students create an organizational structure, set goals and develop a managerial structure.  

The Integrated Business Core funds the product development and initial costs and gives students the opportunity to present a loan proposal to a panel of Cedarville alumni who are successful in the business world. Students then put that loan money back into their company. Any profits that they make are given to a ministry of their choosing.  

Just a few weeks after their launch, Crowned Chains had made enough money to pay off its loans before the team even made its presentation.  

One of the things that set Crowned Chains up for success was the hard work that they put in over the summer. During this period, they developed and tested their product, as well as creating social media marketing and content. As a team of 10, Crowned Chains delegated projects to push their project to the next level.  

Chayton Gearhart, junior business management major from Bloomington, Illinois, and team lead for Crowned Chains, sees owning a business as an interesting and fun challenge.  


Matthew Burgess, a junior accounting major from Springboro, Ohio, sees the IBC as an opportunity to practice accounting in real-time. He believes this experience allows his team an outlet to learn more about business and see positive results from their work. 

“The IBC businesses that see real success are the ones that are willing to put in extra work,” said Burgess. “Each business brings something unique to the table and rather than competing with each other, the IBC fosters a spirit of collaboration and support among businesses.”  

The expertise of Cedarville’s business professors gives students the guidance that they need to succeed. More student-run businesses will be launching in the coming weeks, including Proclaim the Name with customizable apparel with a Gospel message; Didasko, a Christian card game that seeks to teach to Gospel in an engaging way; and Upwrite Notebooks , an erasable notebooks with reusable pages.  

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,456 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study, including the Robert W. Plaster School of Business. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit  

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