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Making Cheese for Christ?

Can using your experience to make cheese really be an opportunity to share Christ?

The purpose of this post is to continue sharing observations, reflections and lessons learned as we visit and interact with different Business as Mission practitioners. We hope this sharing will spark youto get involved

The Business as Mission (BAM) Journey is a program of immersion and observation. 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 relfects 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, sustaianbly and transformational businesses among the least-reached.

Case study - Food production in rural areas
Sector: Organic food production.
Market: Expats in-country, western restaurants and hotels

Structure: Wholly owned foreign enterprise (WOFE). Two expat partners and two full-time local employees. One partner does government relations, the other product development. Indirect support from sending agency.

Champion: European descent but raised in South America. Educational background in the Book. Raised on farm and father made cheese. Invested 2 years in full-time language study before moving to this area. Fluent in four other languages

Business formation: Did research and survey work for more than a year while continuing in language study in this province. Raised capital and registered WOFE in Spring ’08. Providentially found and hired two transformed national workers with minority backgrounds.

Vision: Business that fits in rural setting, allows access to remote minority areas and trains and equips transformed nationals to have value in these rural communities. Ultimately hope to have small scale cheese and meat processing facilities in 5-6 different key minority areas.

Story: Came over to do language study and surveyed area to see how he could gain access and be valuable in rural communities. Discerned that there was a lack of certain food items that they and other expats were accustomed to. Realized that his upbringing gave him practical background and interest in some food-making skills that related well to the rural communities that raise cattle and yaks. Self-taught about cheese and sausage making along with some animal raising and characteristic issues. Presently working as a consultant to a local cheese making facility. Developed vision to set up cheese making operations in rural areas, thus gaining access to rural farmers, providing critical income for them and filling the void for the expat consumers for these food stuffs. Spent months negotiating with one location, almost got deceived into either a debt-bound building or non-strategic location. However, providentially set up with an existing building in another strategic location from a venture that had established excellent value and relationship with the community. Hoping to start production of first cheese product line in Spring ’09

Lessons learned:
  • Patience combined with optimism and perseverance.

  • Skill set and experience has to be appropriate for rural work

  • Product has to be perceived as valuable to the area.
Future plans: Start with cheese, expand to sausage and dairy and meat products from yaks. Idea to introduce European high milk producing goats to one region through a NGO, and once they are established to bring in the cheese business to that area. Considering whether or not get to international ‘organic’ product certification.

Results: Encouraging work environment and vision for two nationalsGood location, enough perceived orders to start production in Spring ’09 in a rural areaObservations: Champion is optimistic and just doing it! Plan has been developed within the breadth of his life experience (ie he grew up on a farm and was exposed to cheese making). Appears to be a good working relationship with nationals. Has vision and ideas for expansion No clear articulation of BAM philosophy, but faith appears to be integrated in the way he goes about working and relating. Marketing to date seems all based on his perception of what expats in-country are missing and want. No detail thought yet on marketing and distribution. Lots of ideas and vision! Hope he can bring on board the detail and follow-through people to see these dreams realized!

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posted by Justin Forman | 12.19.2008 - 6:48 PM

4 Comments:

I love that! "Champion is optimistic and just doing it!" Oh for a million other "Champions" who are optimistic and just doing it, then what would the world look like. May God bless this endeavor for His glory.
commented by Blogger PegS, 10:09 AM  

This is very interesting and informative! Are there other case studies like this available to read?
commented by Blogger Janet, 8:57 PM  

At the bottom of the post there is a section that says "Labels" and one of them says "Case Studies". If you click on that it should show you and archive on several case studies we've posted over the years. Glad to hear that you enjoyed them Janet.
commented by Blogger Justin Forman, 8:58 PM  

Would like to contact Champion to see what technical needs he might have. I have 40 yrs experience in Dairy business and am interested in BAM.

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