Training Entrepreneurs in South Asia: An Update
Through a new Business Development Center (BDC) in South Asia, we’re helping train local entrepreneurs to develop and grow their own businesses. Three cohorts have completed the training so far. The tangible results from the center’s first year have been promising. Here’s a sampling of new businesses that have developed and what some of the BDC graduates are up to now.
A Chicken Farm
The winner of the cohort two business plan contest is starting a chicken farm in a village outside of the city. She is low caste and so is her husband. Never have any low caste people in this village had their own business. The low caste have always been oppressed and served the high caste. The first success for the woman was the purchase of land from high caste land owners. No low caste villagers had ever done that, either. After purchasing the land, she then began building her chicken farm. The town started talking and as a result the woman and her husband have been able to share about their faith and how they hope that this farm will impact the village significantly. We are in talks with one of our partner denominations to try and get a church-planting work in the area to come alongside the business and minister to the many people in this village.
A Goat Farm
Meanwhile, the contest winner from the first cohort is successfully implementing her goat-farming business in another village north of the city. Though she hasn't sold any goats yet, she is building an incredible infrastructure. The village has also been shocked that she has done everything—from obtaining permits to registration to hiring labor—without the typical method of paying bribes. This is a powerful testimony.
A Coconut Oil Company
A graduate of cohort two, has launched his coconut oil company. The company manufactures and bottles coconut oil in a factory in another city, and he is selling it throughout South Asia. A month or two ago he got his first major order from a distributor of about $15,000. Since then he has made a lot more deals. He hired a fellow BDC graduate to work for him (who wasn't ready to start her business yet).
A woman from cohort two, launched her school this year with 30 students. She is getting ready to add 11 more. Her school is targeting the poor and she relies on donations and small fees to keep the school running. She has a wonderful vision and is eager to use this to impact the poor communities of the city for Christ.
A local entrepreneur from cohort one continues to grow his window washing business. He cleans the windows of five-star hotels around the city. He now has around 12 employees and is slowly adding more. Most of his employees are evangelists in the villages. The job not only enables them to support their families, but also to do ministry in the villages. The business owner is able to support his family and his ministry as well.
Out of cohort three came a man from another part of the country who is incredibly gifted in leather making. He is starting a business that will employ underprivileged women, train them to create leather goods, and sell to Western audiences. His business is still in the pipeline, but we can expect big things.
We’re always looking for businessmen and women willing to use their business skills on the field by serving as mentors for local entrepreneurs. For more information on MTW’s Business as Mission ministry email BAM@mtw.org.
When Barry Moorehead embarked on a career in banking, he never envisioned he’d one day sit in a classroom on the other side of the world, helping a South Asian woman refine her stall-fed goat farm business. Or that it would be one of the best experiences of his life.
Napada Handicrafts - Bangkok, Thailand
Napada Handicrafts employs women from low-income communities enabling them to improve the lives of their families while forming community with Christians and learning the truths of God.
Business as Mission Resources
We want to share with you those resources that we are aware of. We don’t endorse all of these, or necessarily agree with every viewpoint expressed, but they represent a range of thinking on Business as Mission. Let us know what you have found helpful so we can share it with others.
• Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work by Tom Nelson
• God Is at Work by Ken Eldred
• Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good by Amy Sherman
• Great Commission Companies by Steve Rundle and Tom Steffen (IVP)
• When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert (Moody)
• My Business My Mission by Doug Seebek and Timothy Stoner (Faith Alive)
• Business For the Glory of God by Wayne Grudem (Crossway)
• On Kingdom Business by Tetsunao Yamamori and Kenneth Eldred (Crossway)
• Business As Mission by C. Neal Johnson (IVP)
• Changing the Mind of Missions by James Engel and William Dyrness (IVP) NOTE: This is not on business in missions specifically, but helps us to think about missions in our time in a healthy way.
• Business as Mission: The Power of Business in the Kingdom of God by Michael R. Baer
African Friends and Money Matters by David Maranz (SIL International)
Business as Mission, Occasional Paper No. 59, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, 2004
Business as Mission, Principals and Strategies for Building Profitable Kingdom Ventures with Non-profit Resources, Thomas Sudyk, 2006
Here are some examples of ministry "models" for business as mission activity:
• Partner with a missionary to determine how overtly Christian your teaching should be depending on the context and the goal.
• You will need to have some preliminary training in the culture into which you will be teaching and sharing, which MTW will arrange and provide.
• You will be expected to have prepared so that you provide a very professional and valuable session(s). Students in some cases will be paying for this teaching. Your time in country for this will likely be from 3-7 days.
To see more details on this model, download the Getting Started brochure.
• You are most likely someone who has broad business experience, and possibly experience starting a business or who has operated a small business.
• You will most likely teach/consult/mentor several nationals who want to start businesses. They will have been “pre-qualified” for this training only somewhat. You will most likely be part of a 3-4 person team who follows a program that is a series of 3-4 one–week sessions over a several month period.
To see more details on this model, download the Getting Started brochure.
• This is not for everyone. It can involve much in terms of learning and adapting to a new culture. It may require learning a new language.
• It is also many times more difficult to be in business in another country. • However, it can be done successfully!
• You may want to become an employee or consultant for a company with a presence in the country you desire to live, work and minister in. Every culture needs kingdom-minded businesspeople. • You may want to consider being a MTW BAM Regional Coordinator and help nationals start and operate businesses and work to bring businesspeople from the U.S. or other countries to the country or region you would live in.
• If you want to start a business yourself, MTW is prepared and excited to help you however we can. This will vary from one place to another but may include: (a) learning the new culture and language and customs; (b) introducing you to a pastor and church in the area; (c) possibly assisting you with finding employees, suppliers, customers, financial and legal advisors in country; (d) praying for and with you.
To see more details on the model, download the Getting Started brochure.