[This post originally appeared in February 2016.]
Our Entrepreneurship Master's Program is housed in Notre Dame's Innovation Park, a commercial accelerator that houses startup companies. Let's meet one of our neighbors, Growing the Faith, a company that is working to apply creative technological solutions to the real world challenges facing our Catholic parish communities.
Ryan Kreager ’11M.A. is enthusiastically optimistic about technology as a unique and powerful means to promote vision and foster mission.
Mid-way through a PhD. program in Psychology at Notre Dame, Ryan had long been a hobbyist software writer and developer and – just for fun -- created an app for Catholics to use when going to Confession. The app was startlingly successful. It was downloaded by thousands, and gained national attention -- even receiving a mention on the Tonight Show -- and Ryan was inspired.
In 2013, he and his partners -- fellow ND graduates Shane O’Flaherty and Tim Connors -- founded Growing the Faith to support their vision – the development of apps for smartphones and accompanying web platforms to help Catholic churches increase parishioner involvement and encourage generosity, and to help individual Catholics “grow in faith and engage in parish life.” Ryan and his partners each brought a key idea to their project: that technology can be used to serve a higher purpose, that technology is a powerful tool that can be used to shift culture within organizations and communities, and what would work for one parish could work for all parishes – the project could be scaled.
The OneParish app is Growing the Faith’s first product: the free app for iPhone and Android is currently available and additionally, parishes can choose to enroll in a full web-based administration system to help manage their directory, organize donations, and send messages directly to parishioners via smartphones.
Kreager operates the “socially conscious for-profit” company out of two small offices in Innovation Park. Customers – there are currently about 7,000 parishes that have parishioners using the OneParish app – are assisted by Adam Smith, the company’s “Customer Happiness Engineer”. Kreager does most of the coding. He also recruits interns to support the company’s endeavors and has been very pleased with their contributions and the success several of them have gone on to achieve.
Take three minutes, watch this video, and hear Ryan Kreager personally explain his company's vision and mission.
You'll be inspired, too.