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Charity Begins at Work

Here's one entrepreneur with divine inspiration.

This story appears in the December 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When you think of a monk, you may not think of someone like The Rev. Bernard McCoy, 36, who began LaserMonks out of The Cistercian Abbey in Sparta, Wisconsin. McCoy and his fellow monks of the Cistercian Order offer up to a 75 percent discount on imaging supplies for printers, copiers and fax machines-when they aren't spending five to seven hours per day in Gregorian chant and prayer. After expenses are paid for the business and the monastery, revenue has gone to everything from getting a defibrillator for the local fire department to providing free computer training for orphans in Vietnam. In 2002, its first year in business, LaserMonks only sold $2,000 worth of supplies. This year, thanks to a friend handling marketing on the cheap and media attention in the likes of USA TODAY and MSNBC, estimates are at about $500,000.

What are some of the challenges you face when mixing religion with business?

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