Conscious Capitalism at GCU

Since its founding, GCU’s Colangelo College of Business has provided students with a distinct view of business that pairs integrity with success and promotes profit with purpose for the greater good. It was on this ideal that GCU was founded in West Phoenix, with the goal to create a mission-minded university while transforming the community of West Phoenix. Therefore, GCU not only teaches the ideals of conscious capitalism, but implements them.

Conscious capitalism is a deliberate movement toward ethical business practices upholding the value of capitalism and all stakeholders. Simply put, it is the idea that business elevates humanity when practiced consciously.

By providing ethical and high-quality service, businesses can prosper and use their prosperity to support others. The idea behind stakeholder capitalism is to make profit more meaningful, where both internal and external stakeholders can benefit – living out business as a force for good. As discussed in this GCU News article, conscious capitalism in business promotes practices that help both the Earth and humans to flourish.

Free market capitalism can help our world solve problems through innovative solutions that create and bring value. Governments cannot do it alone. Businesses with a higher purpose and a stakeholder orientation have never been more needed by society in the way they are now.

Dr. Randy Gibb, Provost

GCU’s Vision for Stakeholder Capitalism

In 1951, two years after the Grand Canyon College’s founding, the school transferred locations from Prescott to Phoenix, Arizona. In the years following its transition, GCU developed an ambitious five-point plan to revitalize West Phoenix. This plan not only sought to support the community through outreach, but with a powerful tool to help break the cycle of poverty: education.

GCU has initiated several partnerships with local schools to elevate the community and make higher education an obtainable goal. In an effort to raise up the community and use GCU’s resources to advance others, GCU has:

  • Over 14,800 people employed by GCU and its partners
  • Over 173,500 hours of service provided by the GCU Learning Lounge (as of December 2023) 
  • Implemented a scholarship program for local students

This approach aligns with GCU’s Christian mission and values. The biblical concept of stewardship translates into the idea of business as ministry. Through diligent leadership and a biblical concern for its neighbors, GCU has enacted conscious capitalism to increase the value of all stakeholders.

Button to play video: GCUs United By Purpose Community Transformation

You can also elevate your understanding of conscious capitalism by enrolling in an individual course. Visit our single courses page below and search “BUS-476” or “Conscious Capitalism: Free Market Perspectives” for more information on this course.

Business as Ministry

Over the course of GCU’s business programs, students are encouraged to view business as ministry. Students are challenged to become servant leaders, to integrate their faith everyday as they work and create a purpose-minded business. When combined, faith promotes ethical business practices that uphold the value of their employees as well as individuals via respect and appreciation.

Business as ministry upholds a biblical view of stewardship in terms of servant leadership that results in elevating humanity because everybody should be treated with dignity and respect. Students can graduate understanding that business can be used to lift people out of poverty, creating a force for good.

Ethical Business

The Colangelo College of Business is based on the pillars of servant leadership, ethics and entrepreneurism. Ethical business is at the core of conscious capitalism and GCU’s business programs. Students have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of business and how to turn a profit, all while enacting servant leadership and ethical practices.

Without ethics, conscious capitalism cannot be sustained. Therefore, ethics must be reflected first internally through the leadership and staff and then out to all stakeholders to maintain a socially-responsible business.

The genius of capitalism is that it both creates incentives for solving human problems and makes those solutions widely available. And it is solutions to human problems that define prosperity, not money.

Eric Beinhocker and Nick Hanauer

Opportunities for Entrepreneurship at GCU

GCU’s dedication to conscious capitalism extends into supporting opportunities for students to experience it firsthand. The Colangelo College of Business encourages an entrepreneurial spirit in students and provides avenues for students to participate. Some of the opportunities available to students include:

  • An on-campus marketplace for students to sell their products
  • Student business startup competitions
  • TEDxGrandCanyonUniversity
  • IDEA Club to fuel entrepreneurial ideas
  • Employment at GCU Enterprises
  • Employment through Canyon Ventures
  • Experience with Canyon Angels, a 501(c)6 investment organization
  • Canyon Challenge, the student business startup competition


Button to play video: Canyon Ventures - Business Opportunities for Students | GCU
Canyon Challenge winners posing on stage with their prize check

GCU Enterprises

In the spirit of entrepreneurialism, GCU has developed 10 local enterprises. These enterprises offer student worker positions, providing them with hands-on experience that directly supports their business degree. Students can learn to integrate ethical business practices in alignment with conscious capitalism. The profits of these enterprises are then reinvested back into the university to help keep tuition costs affordable and provide scholarship opportunities. 

The university, with support from Grand Canyon Education (GCE), has launched 10 business enterprises that employ nearly 500 people.

  • Grand Canyon Beverage Company (four locations)
  • Havoc House
  • Cañón 49
  • GCU Golf Course
  • Canyon Promotions
  • Lopes Shop
  • Grand Canyon University Hotel1

Your entrepreneurial mindset will look at adversity and see opportunity, envision a way to pivot, improve, and leverage current conditions to help find a business solution, which in turn helps communities prosper.

Dr. Randy Gibb, Provost
students talking to a professor at a canyon ventures event

Canyon Ventures

GCU’s startup business accelerator, Canyon Ventures, housed 25 companies and employed 73 GCU students and 24 GCU alumni as of March 2023. Through Canyon Ventures, these startups receive mentorship, training and connections to foster an evolving and collaborative environment. 

Students are given the opportunity to see their entrepreneurial ideas come to life or support other ventures with their degree-related skills. Students receive the opportunity to hone their skills while utilizing their creativity in this entrepreneurial environment. 

The ventures provide openings across different industries including:

  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Development
  • Product Ideation 

Through Canyon Ventures, local startups are supported while students are equipped to take their knowledge and skills into the community. This investment in the community provides a route to encourage local business which can then bring jobs and opportunity into West Phoenix.

students give a presentation at a canyon angels event

Canyon Angels

Canyon Angels is 501(c)6, member-led organization that serves as a West Valley investor group and angel investment network. The Angels look for compelling entrepreneurial ideas that they can help fund. Companies from around the world can pitch to the Angels. Canyon Angels allows GCU students the opportunity to see the workings of an investment team, while gaining experience in pitching and due diligence work via a 1-credit course, ENT-495. This is another way that GCU seeks to support business that works for good, while providing students with opportunities for growth.

Pair your business ambitions with integrity and servant leadership and learn the tenets of conscious capitalism by enrolling in a bachelor’s, online MBA or Doctor of Business Administration program at GCU.

Business & Management Degrees

1 Operated by GCE for GCU Discover events.