We interviewed Joshua Owen, Co-founder of Global U about easy, creative ways anyone can get involved in meeting the needs of their community.
WR: Hey Josh! How are you doing today?
Josh: I’m doing great! This has been a wild month, but everybody’s excited. We’re really doing stuff. This has probably been the most exciting part of this year so far.
WR: So, for those of us who have never met you, who are you and what is it that you do?
Josh: My name is Joshua Owen and I Co-founded Global U with Seth Barnes about two years ago.
WR: We’ve all been huge fans of Global U from day one. Can you give us a little bit more about what Global U does?
Josh: What we’re doing is trying to activate people for the Kingdom. Seth and I are both wired as entrepreneurs. So, what we wanted to teach is “How do you build something from ideation all the way to launch? How do you make a real product, ministry, or business and put it into the world? But we do it with the spin, we teach it through a technical lense.
We teach computer programming while we’re on the field. We do that because it has a very low barrier to entry to actually start your entrepreneurship journey. All you need is a computer and you can write some lines of code and launch a product in the world. We’re really broken down into three different phases: Ideation, building, and launch.
We’re also very Kingdom-focused. We started in Spain, doing classes with G42. Then, we went to Thailand and did ministry with Zion Hostel. Lastly, we went to Nicaragua. However, COVID-19 happened and lead us to come back to Gainesville, Ga.
WR: So what has Global U been doing in response to COVID-19?
Josh: Yeah, it’s changed a lot. We didn’t know it, but everyone in the program has been building up to this moment for the past seven months. We’ve been learning how to build our own projects, but now the world has a real need. So, we asked how we need to address that fast with the assets we have.
So, we have a couple of projects going on. We have a 3-D mask printing project going on right now. We’re starting community gardens. We started a job board for the elderly in our community by mobilizing churches to help the elderly who are stuck in their house but still have jobs that need to be done around their houses. We’re also helping to build websites for restaurants that aren’t online yet. We’ve issued a gratitude challenge. We’re helping to mobilize getting rice delivered to families in India. We have quite a few projects that our students have been working on these past two weeks.
WR: That’s so much! Can you help walk us through the process of how you got one of those projects started?
Josh: Absolutely. Let’s take one of the more exciting projects, this 3D printing project. You know, not all projects need you to come up with them yourself from scratch. There’s a big open-source 3D printing community that already exists. There’s also (for anyone whose been watching the news) a pretty well-known shortage of respirators and hand-sewn masks.
So, one of our World Race mentors from the Dallas, Texas area reached out to us for help. They are running logistics in the Dallas Metro area, trying to connect shortages in supply with the people who need it. They’re mostly looking at police departments, fire departments, and people who work in hospice or elderly care. They are basically going out and asking “Hey who needs germ x? Who needs medical masks?” and finding out who has them to get the right supplies to the right people.
It blew up and got overwhelming. So, they called us up for help and now we’re running logistics for them. We’re also starting up the same thing here in Gainesville by getting access to 3D printers and seeing who has access to other medical supplies. We’re not the only ones doing this. This is a model we’re seeing everywhere and we’re just coming alongside them to help.
WR: So, if you had to break it up into steps, how would you teach someone to help meet the needs in their community?
Josh: It always starts by asking “What is the need in the world?” Then it’s asking, “Is there an existing solution?” Then it’s all about asking, “How can we connect those people together?” Usually, there’s someone out there and all it takes is getting on a phone and helping to connect the dots. If nothing is out there, then it’s time to ask “Do we have the resources to make this?”
You can find out more about how to get involved with Global U by visiting their website or instagram page. You can also find more information about local ministries by visiting the Hope Rising Facebook group.