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The Second Edition of the Business as Mission Journey

Last year we followed the journey of a few interns as they got more involved in Business as Mission. We shared their observations, reflections and lessons learned as they visited and interact with different Business as Mission (BAM) practitioners. We share the program directors hope that this sharing will spark your imagination and encourage you to get involved in the idea of combining business and ministry. Here's the start of their second edition!

Updates- Apologies for the gap in sending out these notes (the last case study was sent out May!). Our first year's BAM Journey participants have returned to North America. One is now gaining practical work experience managing a store for her parent's business. And the other is reporting back on his year while we liaise and try to develop a working BAM internship for him in-country. A new BAM Journey team is coming together for Fall '08! Thus far we have 2 Couples and 2 Singles. We're still waiting for all the dust to settle with people moving over here, a new baby arriving and adoption paper work on another to be finalized. Hopefully by the end of this month we are settled in and started into our program.

BAM Journey is a program of immersion and observation. All the participants are language and culture students. We then meet weekly to go through foundational Book passages and recent and relevant books on BAM. We discuss the theory in the books and then bi-weekly go out and visit BAM practitioners and businesses. We get to see, ask questions, observe and get a taste of the real challenge of making it work in this world - and then come back and discuss what we've seen. This note then reflects the case studies we write up after our visits. Our vision is that through this process our Father might raise up the next generation of entrepreneurs to set up profitable, sustainably and transformational businesses among the least-reached.

Capitalization- It is possible to have a strong vision, fantastic business concept, strong market demand, qualified and unified project team... and the project never starts or fails. Right now I am in the midst of such a situation and a good colleague just had to resign from a similar situation all for the same reason - under capitalization. With daily headlines from the US showing political candidates raising tens of millions each month (donations) and most recently Coke offering $2.5 billion to purchase a $350 million juice company, the money is out there! But the word from those seeking to raise funds for these small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is that venture capitalists are not looking at projects this small nor like-minded I'm learning that raising $1 million is perhaps harder than raising $50 million. Apparently the research, financial and legal fees are not significantly different - so the economies of scale prefer the larger amounts. So what does that mean for those of us trying to start-up SMEs?

Under capitalization affects the project from start to finish. At start-up it hampers being able to hire the best people, undermines leverage in negotiating, affects supply chain management, paying suppliers... all the way through. It complicates what already is a difficult process. These are not pie-in-the-sky businesses! These are market-pulled, soundly thought through by seasoned business people of faith, led by those who are qualified and willing to sacrificially dive in and start them up. The part of the team that seems to be missing is the finance/funding part. And without it, the team is incomplete and the effort… and is in vain? In Ken Eldred's book God is at Work his last chapter is entitled "Outrageous Visions". Here he illustrates the outrageous visions God can do through Kingdom businesses. An inspirational list to pray through! On page 264 he mentions “several large and successful funds that finance Kingdom business start-up and business development efforts”. This need is now. Who will step up and stand in this gap?

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posted by Justin Forman | 10.02.2008 - 11:49 AM

2 Comments:

This is really good stuff. Thanks for keeping us all posted.
commented by Blogger Tou and David, 11:18 AM  

I believe you are correct, Justin, it IS easier to raise $50MM than to raise $1MM--for many projects.

Having started my business life in 1972 jumping from coast to coast and boarder to boarder interviewing inventors/developers and their creations for a group of VC in Maryland, the world just didn't seem to operate like it should--then or now. Someone over there generates a first-round check of $250K within hours from a schematic on a cocktail napkin, and this person here could launch twice the business, provide 4X the jobs with just a $100K--that doesn't come.

The one constaint is my overarching confidence in the Lord as soverign--in my life, my clients and the world. It's just that the Lord demands we give it all we've got. Whether the obstacles fall as Goliath is His job.

I REALLY like this forum and certainly give my Amen along with Tou and David. There is tremendous synergy in working in concert on business issues, we've all seen it in one capacity or another.

A forum like this keeps us all 'up' and confidence in our Lord is renewed.

May your efforts multiply, Justin
commented by Anonymous Steve Lanning, 5:19 PM  

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