The A to Z of BAM: F to J – from Freedom to Justice

by Mats Tunehag

F – Freedom

Winston Churchill said: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.

Today tens of millions of people around the world are held as slaves, they are victims of human trafficking. A root cause to is unemployment. About 80 percent who are rescued from trafficking are re-trafficked unless they find a job with dignity at the other end. Thus, jobs with dignity and transformational businesses are essential for true freedom. Freedom businesses exist to fight human trafficking, providing jobs for prevention and restoration. [1]

There is no quick fix to human trafficking. There is no ‘jump to freedom’; we have a long journey ahead. As Nelson Mandela said: “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.” This is true for millions of slaves around the world, and also for the freedom business movement. [2]

 

 


G – God

We are not just Christians doing social enterprise. God is the owner of our businesses; our business praxis should be God-centered.

Let me mention two groups in Asia which are engaging with thousands of business owners and operators.

I have worked for over ten years with Julian Foe and his team, who lead the Kingdom Business Community, KBC in Indonesia. KBC have run camps for over ten thousand business people. It is an induction program, which always emphasizes – as number one: be God centered in your life and business.

Another group is The Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals in the Philippines. Their motto is to “Make Disciples of All Nations”, and their vision is “bringing Christ into the marketplace and winning the marketplace for Christ”. They are “are a community of business people and professionals committed to living out Christian values and being change agents in the marketplace”.

BAM is about being God-centered and making Christ known.


H – Holistic

BAM is not doing business with a touch of ‘churchianity’. It is not about doing some church-like activities in a business. BAM is about meeting needs, different kind of needs: economic, social, spiritual, and other needs – as we do business.

BAM is about having a holistic outlook and approach, just like Jesus. He never told anyone they had the wrong kind of need. He constantly and consistently met all kinds of needs; preaching and demonstrating the Kingdom of God. This is a guiding light in BAM. “Businesses that function in alignment with the core values of the Kingdom of God are playing an important role in holistic transformation of individuals, communities and societies.”  – Wheaton Declaration on Business as Integral Calling

We believe that the Gospel has the power to transform individuals, communities and societies. Christians in business should therefore be a part of this holistic transformation through business.” – BAM Manifesto

I – Integrated

BAM is taking our Sunday talk into a Monday walk. It is about integrating what we profess in church into a daily praxis – 24/7.

H2O is hydrogen and oxygen. It can be compartmentalized and analyzed and it can manifest itself as water, ice and steam. But if you’re thirsty you don’t want a chemical formula but water, the integrated whole.

The Church teaches that God is triune; we can observe the three in one, and one in three in the holy Scriptures and throughout history. We can compartmentalize God; focus on the Son for example. But we mustn’t fail to see how the three divine persons overlap, interact and connect. Separate but never disconnected. It is a mystery, indeed, but nevertheless a truth to embrace. [3]

BAM is an expression of a holistic lifestyle, where godly values and good business practices are integrated. 

J – Justice

Business as mission is about embracing Biblical themes, narratives and values, and live them in the marketplace. [4]

God loves justice and hates injustice. God sent prophets again and again who spoke out against injustice, and they demanded change and correction. Injustice often manifested itself in the marketplace: it was corruption, labor exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people like immigrants. To pursue honest business and care for staff is business as justice. To treat customers and suppliers well is also a part of this God-honoring pursuit.

Business as justice includes fighting corruption, bribery, labor exploitation and human trafficking.

Read more:

A-E

 

BAM: A to Z graphic design by Tanner Germany

Footnotes

[1] To learn more, check Freedom Business Alliance, FBA: https://www.freedombusinessalliance.com/

[2] Read more at https://businessasmission.com/let-freedom-ring-fighting-slavery-with-business-solutions/

[3] Read more at https://thirdpathinitiative.com/holistic-integrated-bam-will-make-history/

[4] See article dealing with 12 such values: http://matstunehag.com/2012/09/29/business-as-mission-is-bigger-than-you-think/

 

Mats Tunehag is a senior global ambassador for BAM and has worked in over half the countries of the world. He is the chairman of BAM Global and contributes to TransformationalSME.org. Visit MatsTunehag.com for BAM resources in 21 languages.

 

 

 

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The A to Z of BAM: A to E – from Avodah to Environmental

by Mats Tunehag

A – Avodah

The Hebrew word avodah is used interchangeably for work, worship and service. Business as Mission, BAM, is a seamless integration of work, worship and service.

A few Bible references:

Six days you shall work (avodah). – Exodus 34:21

This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship (avodah) me. – Exodus 8:1

But as for me and my household, we will serve (avodah) the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

Worship in the temple is different from manual labor in the field. But both are connected to who we are, created in God’s image, with a purpose to both work and worship. Work can be worship! Avodah is a picture of an integrated faith.[1] It is a life where work and worship come from the same root. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

 

B – Business

Professor Angelo Nicolaides observes: “The notion of business is recognized within the creation account where it is clear that man cannot work alone.” [2] John Paul II describes the essential community aspects of business, saying that a company is a “community of persons who in various ways are endeavouring to satisfy their basic needs, and who form a particular group at the service of the whole of society.” [3]

Businesses are not static – they start and develop; they can grow and change. But we should intentionally and professionally shape our business for God, people and planet. One can see the business as an instrument through which we develop our products and services, and also optimize our service of various stakeholders: God, staff, owners, customers, suppliers, community, competitors, and physical environment. Business is a God given instrument, which we fine-tune to serve people and glorify God. [4]

C – Create

For many people work is simply seen as an employment, a way to make some money. But that is too narrow a view, both historically and globally, of what work is and means. Furthermore, we need to be aligned with the Judeo-Christian tradition and its concept of work. [5]

God works! He is creative and He creates in community and for community. We are created in His image to work and be creative, for ourselves and also for others. Our work may be paid or non-paid, related to an employment or not. The Wealth Creation Manifesto states: “We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.” We can be creative in music, cooking a meal for the family, developing a software program, nursing a sick patient at a hospital, or farming rice. This is deeply divine and deeply human.

D – Dignity

Rabbis Sacks contrasts animals and human beings: “Work, in other words, has spiritual value, because earning our food is part of the essential dignity of the human condition. Animals find sustenance; only mankind creates it.” [6]

Jobs are not just a matter of income or survival; they reflect who God is, and who we are as people made in His image. Work is an issue of human dignity. Creating jobs with dignity is godly. Businesses can be a place for dignifying work and creativity, for community and service.

Work and business are reflections of the trinitarian God, and also reflections of God’s trinitarian nature. God is love and collaboration. [7] So, being a diligent worker individually, and being creative collectively – also in business – reflects true human dignity!

E – Environment

In BAM we talk about the quadruple bottom line: financial, social, environmental and spiritual. We can and should at times compartmentalize for planning, operation and evaluation. But we also need to recognize that they overlap, interact and connect; they form a greater whole.

We must avoid playing one important entity against the other. It is not work versus worship, or financial bottom-line versus a spiritual impact. They are not same, but they belong together. [8]

We mustn’t forget or neglect to be good stewards of creation, and develop business solutions for environmental challenges. “Along with the spiritual, financial, and social bottom lines, the environmental bottom line is an integral measure of a God-centered successful business.” [9]

 

Read more:

F-J

BAM: A to Z graphic design by Tanner Germany

 

Footnotes

[1] Read more at http://matstunehag.com/2018/08/13/lets-avodah/

[2] Ethics and the dignity of work: An Orthodox Christian perspective, by Angelo Nicolaides, see [7]

Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 101 – (2020)

[3] Centesimus Annus, 1991

[4] See short video about business as an instrument for God and people: https://vimeo.com/152713982

[5] See ‘Deeply Rooted for the Future’: http://matstunehag.com/2020/12/23/deeply-rooted-for-the-future/

[6] Market and Morals, by Jonathan Sacks. Aug 2020

[7] The trinitarian reciprocal love, interdependence and collaboration, have bearings on our relationships and responsibilities, also for the planet: “Relational human existence involves interdependence and interaction simultaneously between human beings themselves and the nature they commonly share and companies need to be clear on this. … They should also endeavour to serve environmentally friendly planetary needs so that future generations may also enjoy God’s creation.” Ethics and the dignity of work: An Orthodox Christian perspective, by Angelo Nicolaides.

Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 101 – (2020)

[8] See https://thirdpathinitiative.com/holistic-integrated-bam-will-make-history/

[9] Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation. https://bamglobal.org/wealth-creation-stewardship/

 

Mats Tunehag is a senior global ambassador for BAM and has worked in over half the countries of the world. He is the chairman of BAM Global and contributes to TransformationalSME.org. Visit MatsTunehag.com for BAM resources in 21 languages.

 

 

 

WANT MORE CONTENT ON ESSENTIAL BAM CONCEPTS & PRACTICES?

JOIN US AT THE BAM GLOBAL CONGRESS

A GLOBAL MEETING POINT FOR THE BAM COMMUNITY

Join us at this innovative virtual main event framed by a lead-in series of monthly webinars and a follow-up series of workshops and meet-ups.

We will CELEBRATE what God is doing through business around the world, CONNECT you with a global network of people and initiatives, and CREATE momentum to multiply the BAM movement for greater impact.

PRE-CONGRESS WEBINARS: October 2020 to March 2021

CONGRESS MAIN EVENT: 28 – 30 April 2021

POST-CONGRESS WORKSHOPS: May 2021 to July 2021

REGISTER NOW: Pre-Series Pass – $50, Premium All Access Pass – $175

It is not too late to register for the Pre-Series Pass, all webinars have been recorded and will be available to ticket holders.

 

 

 

 

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Editor’s Pick 2020: Making a Positive Impact on the World Through Business – Where to Start?!

EDITORʼS PICK 2020

Our goal is to provide the BAM Community with regular content and resources. As we come to the end of what has been a very challenging year, we are highlighting your and our favourite articles of the past year. Below is the “Editor’s Pick” for January to December 2020.

We hope it inspires you for all the ways Christ-centred business can make a difference in the world as we look forward to 2021. Thanks for reading this year!

Have you ever felt an urgency to make a positive impact on the world, but not known where to start? On the one hand, the Scriptures confront us with eternal realities; yet on the other hand, the news is packed with statistics and updates, challenging us to be global citizens. It is easy to be overcome by the amount of information there is to digest. Do we choose to rescue the damned from hell? Or the slaves from Boko Haram? Should we focus on eliminating poverty? Or educating the under-educated? The problems can seem daunting; the deluge of options overwhelming.

Yet you want to make a difference, so where does an eager change-maker start? And in starting, which of the issues – spiritual or worldly – are the most urgent to address? Can one person, really, truly make a difference?

Working to solve both Gospel and global issues doesn’t have to be that confusing or complicated. Business, the workplace, offers solutions and can impact each of these issues and answer most of the questions.

Consider:

The number of hungry people in the world has actually increased the last few years. One in nine people in the world habitually go hungry. Food security is the biggest threat to the overall health of the human race – more so than malaria, tuberculosis, or HIV. But it’s 2020. Are people really still going hungry? The problem is not that we aren’t producing enough food; rather, people lack access to food.  Many people simply do not have enough money to purchase food or the seeds and fertilizers to grow their own. OPEN workers are creating jobs in 43 countries. We are not a charity that gives things away for free. We don’t give people food, medicine or an education; we give them a job—the empowerment to earn their own living. With a job comes dignity, and with dignity follows questioning, as they seek out the purposes behind our willingness to come and meet most of their basic needs. In that questioning, that seeking, we are invited to tell them the reason – Jesus.

Business moves us beyond talking about issues with people to engaging people with the issues. Through business, we are providing real, impactful solutions.

Consider:

Over the past decade, there’s been a huge upsurge in conflicts which have greatly increased the number of refugees in the world. Farmers need to abandon their land to save themselves and their families. Then once these farmers reach a safer location, they have no land rights, which means they can’t grow crops. These refugees then need to purchase high-priced imported foods. When they don’t have enough funds to do so, families don’t eat. OPEN businesses that create jobs are meeting basic human needs. When OPEN workers fulfill people’s needs via the workplace, the people respect not only what we do, but who we are. This respect readily transfers over to questions seeking to understand the motives behind our lives and work – Jesus.

Consider:

Poor sanitation is a major factor in the spread of transferable diseases. OPEN businesses are modeling good sanitation practices in their workplace as well as in the streets and neighborhoods of their surrounding communities. This modeling is not only showing the community there is a better way to dispose of garbage and maintain good health, it is also giving people examples and tools to improve their own health, hygiene, and physical well-being. OPEN workers are transforming their neighborhoods, impressing on locals a concern for their outward living conditions. This concern regularly leads to a questioning and a seeking out from us what inward motivation leads us to do these things, resulting in their asking us to tell them about Jesus.

Consider:

Children are key to our future success, yet many across the world do not have some of their most basic needs met. OPEN businesses have built orphanages and shelters for abused women and enslaved people. OPEN workers have established numerous schools which are creating hope and new opportunities for better jobs, which lead to better futures. Even more fundamental than food and water is the basic human need for hope.  Hope, not a handout, often leads people to seek out the reason for our caring for impoverished children—Jesus.

Creating jobs, living and working 40+ hours a week with people is a solid solution for reaching the least-reached peoples of the world for Jesus and solving the problems of the world.

Consider:

Women make up roughly half of the world’s population, yet historically there have been social barriers to economic and personal freedom for women. Often women are disempowered from a young age; they are held back from attending school because of financial reasons or because of the perception that their education does not matter. Globally, women earn less than men, and women with children earn even less. [1] Empowering women has far-reaching benefits for communities. For example, the United Nations estimates that if women farmers could be given the same resources as men, 150 million more people could be fed, effectively achieving the goal of zero hunger. [2]  Women across the world are often the caretakers of household health, which means that if all women are taught effective healthcare practices, global well-being statistics could be altered dramatically. OPEN businesses are creating thousands of jobs for under-educated, under-empowered women, and previously-enslaved women. These jobs provide income for needed food and healthcare and expand opportunities for children to receive a good education. OPEN businesses are learning ways of supporting women in achieving their goals. When women are given opportunities to excel and experience God’s touch on their lives, they come to us yearning to know “Why?” Why do we do these things? Of course, the answer directs them to Jesus.

Business moves us beyond talking about issues with people to engaging people with the issues. Through business, we are providing real, impactful solutions. OPEN businesses are moving local thinking forward on key issues including corruption, upholding the law, paying taxes, and general human rights. Business levels the playing field. Business forces people to come together. Business enables people no matter their race, nationality, religion, or gender to face one another and experience each other’s differences. Business empowers and provides resources and opportunities to support people to learn more about their own rights, including the right to worship the King of Kings – Jesus.

Business for Transformation (B4T) – creating jobs, living and working 40+ hours a week with people – is a solid solution for reaching the least-reached peoples of the world for Jesus and solving the problems of the world. Business done for the glory of Jesus adds real and lasting value to the communities and the individuals’ lives.

For more information about OPEN go to:

www.OPENworldwide.net

OPEN is a network of 300+ people starting businesses and working for both local and international companies in least reached areas. B4T is a growing movement within the BAM world that stresses the two bottom lines of financial success and spiritual impact. OPEN prioritizes the following things:

1. Least-reached people: We establish in areas and with people where there are no or few churches.

2. Profitable and sustainable businesses: Our business owners and all employees draw a salary/paycheck, and bigger businesses have a bigger impact.

3. Jesus’ name: If the authorities, co-workers and community do not know that we love Jesus, then why are we there?

4. Holistic transformation: We impact our local communities in reproducible and measurable ways—first spiritually and economically; then socially and environmentally.

 

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap

2 https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/

 

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

 

 

Most Read 2020: The Coronavirus Pandemic and BAM: Seven Things We Can Do

MOST READ POST 2020

Our goal is to provide the BAM Community with regular content and resources. As we come to the end of what has been a very challenging year, we are highlighting your and our favourite articles of the past year. Below is the “Most Read Post” for January to December 2020.

Please enjoy and thanks for following!

The effects of the coronavirus are disruptive beyond comprehension. The situation is changing by the hour. The consequences vary from difficult to dire for billions of people, and nobody knows what the timeline is for this crisis.

Media across the world updates us constantly on the negative effects on businesses and on people’s lives, so this short article will have a different focus: what can we do?

But first let’s note that throughout history the Church has a track record of serving others in the midst of major plagues and catastrophes.

The sociologist Rodney Stark has written (in The Rise of Christianity) that one reason the church overcame hostility and grew so rapidly within the Roman empire traces back to how Christians responded to pandemics of the day, which probably included bubonic plague and smallpox.  When infection spread, Romans fled their cities and towns; Christians stayed behind to nurse and feed not only their relatives but their pagan neighbors.” (Living in Plague Times – Phillip Yancy)

Why has the Church done this for centuries and why should we do it now? One fundamental reason is that we are to love God and our neighbors, and the two are connected. As Bishop Barron says: “Why are the two commandments so tightly linked? Because of who Jesus is. Christ is not simply a human being, and he is not simply God; rather, he is the God-man, the one in whose person divinity and humanity meet. Therefore, it is impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he has embraced. The greatest commandment is, therefore, an indirect Christology.” [1]

Many businesses are facing challenges with cashflow, lockdown, sales, having to let staff go, supply chain disruptions, bankruptcies, et cetera. So, what can we do now?

Let me suggest seven areas for action as it relates to BAM businesses and the global BAM community. We also invite you to add your suggestions.  Read more

Scaling BAM Companies for Impact: Models of Partnership and Ecosystem Building

During our November Webinars last week for the BAM Global Congress Pre-Series, Mats Tunehag had the privilege of interviewing eight BAM leaders in a series of three Fireside Chats, on the theme of building ecosystems and networks that will help BAM companies launch and thrive.

As part of this series, Mats interviewed Tom, Dwight and Joanna, here are some excerpts from their Fireside Chat Interview:

Mats: Joanna, in your experience, through starting a BAM accelerator and running your own business, what are some key lessons you’ve learned when it comes to building an ecosystem or support system for growing a BAM business?

Joanna: First of all, do not discourage someone from being part of your ecosystem, even if you don’t think it’s what you need right now. It’s about building relationships with different parts of this ecosystem for the long term. Secondly, learn and teach. We have to learn from others, and we also have to pass on what we know with the relationships and partnerships we are developing.

Mats: Dwight you’ve been doing BAM for several decades now, tell us about the nature of your companies?

Dwight: We are committed to establishing businesses, typically technology based businesses with 50-500 employees, in unreached cities in Asia. We are committed to seeing strategic, but reasonable, great commission results in unreached cities of more than a million people and less than 2% Christian. Typically we see house bible studies started and growing beyond that, but each location is different… If we don’t see both the financial returns and the great commission stuff happening, we will exit from a business.

Mats: You’ve talked before about the importance of strategic alliances and partnerships with mission agencies for business growth and gospel impact, please tell us more about the benefits of these partnerships as part of the ecosystem around your companies.

Dwight: We’ve learned a lot, we are now in our 31st year of doing intentional BAM! In our size of company, we’ve found it’s a very unusual leader that can hold both business management skill sets and keeping staff accountable for spiritual growth. We actively seek for all of the Christian non-national leaders in our companies to have spiritual accountability relationships with groups, like mission agencies, that will take an active interest to oversee them. Also we want them to infuse the operations, to bring influence. When you are running an intentional, international business it is very competitive, you are working long-hours, especially for start-ups. We need those partner groups to come in and give some support, give some management and to measure us, to make sure our great commission goals are aggressive enough, but contextualised so that they are not too aggressive. We have relationships like that with 20+ Christian great commission-focused groups or agencies. None of them are financially invested in the business, but we want them to be people-invested. As well as keeping our leaders individually accountable, they champion priorities for each location from a discipleship, church planting or evangelism perspective. We have a written great commission plan and contracts with each organisation. Just like having a 3 or 5 year business plan, we have those for our great commission goals, if you are not intentional and don’t aim for it, you won’t hit it. These are places that are tough to reach with the gospel and require focus on both financial and great commission goals.

Mats: Tom, you’ve learned a number of things through doing BAM in the Middle East, tell us about that and what you have discovered about the importance of building Kingdom-centred ecosystems.

Tom: I came to business from a different route, through ministry. I did seminary and then started a couple of businesses and found that I loved it. I saw the redemptive possibilities of business, especially as you relate to people on a core level, where their identity is, where their dignity is, where their livelihood is. When you do ministry around that core identity you are really connecting with people in a powerful way. In the context I was in, we couldn’t hire the people we wanted to reach in the way that other BAM businesses do, because the people were already far wealthier than us. We could partner with them and invite them for coffee, business leader to business leader, but couldn’t really have the impact on the community we wanted to.

The idea of growing entrepreneurial ecosystems stemmed from wanting to have a broader influence in our community and also to build the redemptive capacity that SME sized businesses can have to solve local problems in the community. Who knows more about local problems than local people? If we are able to come around locals to help them start businesses, they own it. Ownership then creates a capacity for people to take care of their own solutions…. We help BAM practitioners pull entrepreneurs together in their location and help 5-20 new local businesses launch. A community is then formed – a catalytic network of business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and all the people that come around to help entrepreneurs thrive. If the Kingdom is at the centre of that, the influence can grow, with community and spiritual transformation both happening. Instead of just saying to other business leaders, ‘Do you want to have a cup of coffee?’ we can say, ‘Hey, could we get together and talk about how to work together to change this city for good?’.

Want to watch the whole of this interview on video?

Discover more about what Joanna, Tom and Dwight consider their key learnings from doing business as mission, in three different continents and from very different backgrounds and experiences

Sign up for the BAM Global Congress to get access to 15 webinars in the Pre-Congress Series, plus more. Congress information below.

 

JOIN US AT THE BAM GLOBAL CONGRESS

A GLOBAL MEETING POINT FOR THE BAM COMMUNITY

Join us at this innovative virtual main event framed by a lead-in series of monthly webinars and a follow-up series of workshops and meet-ups.

We will CELEBRATE what God is doing through business around the world, CONNECT you with a global network of people and initiatives, and CREATE momentum to multiply the BAM movement for greater impact.

PRE-CONGRESS WEBINARS: October 2020 to March 2021

CONGRESS MAIN EVENT: 28 – 30 April 2021

POST-CONGRESS WORKSHOPS: May 2021 to July 2021

REGISTER NOW: Pre-Series Pass – $50, Premium All Access Pass – $175

It is not too late to register for the Pre-Series Pass, all webinars have been recorded and will be available to ticket holders.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Helping Entrepreneurs Thrive: The Power of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

If you have been in the entrepreneurial world for very long, you have likely heard the words “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems” pop up more and more in the last few years. And for good reason! Ecosystem theory has begun to change the way we think about entrepreneurship in general with the Kauffman Foundation, CoStarters, InBia, and others leading the way in the US. Ecosystem thinking is also transforming the way we do BAM, in that the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems is understood more and more as a powerful way to foster local business ownership, impact economic development, and expand the influence of the Kingdom in the marketplace of local communities around the world.

So, what is an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?

Generally an ecosystem is an interconnected, interdependent network of elements, living and nonliving, that make up a supportive environment for a particular type of creature or entity. The word “ecosystem” is a biological term, originally used to describe the environment of a type of animal (or group of animals) that enables it to thrive. So a prairie could be an ecosystem for foxes because it provides other foxes, prey like mice, food for the prey like seeds, water, predators that inspire defensive behaviors, a favorable temperature, sunlight, a place to live, etc..

Outside of biology, the word ecosystem has been very fluid in its meaning. It can apply to a lot of different kinds of networks, such as networks of similar organizations, political environments, or ministry connections. Even the term “entrepreneurial ecosystems” is sometimes used to describe global networks across particular industries, networks of BAM practitioners, or networks of entrepreneurs in a local context.

For our purposes, and the purposes of this discussion, we will use the term “entrepreneurial ecosystem” to refer to the local networks of entrepreneurs, business leaders, local investors, and mentors in a single community or local area. For most entrepreneurs, most of the emotional support, resources, and customers come from such a local environment. It is the elements in that local environment that, when interconnected and supportive of entrepreneurs, allow entrepreneurs to thrive. Elements of that ecosystem can include resources like knowledge capital, other entrepreneurs, established businesses, places to operate like co-working spaces, markets, and even cultural attitudes.

“Building” an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

So if entrepreneurial ecosystems are our focus, we may rightly ask how one “builds” an ecosystem? In reality, ecosystems are never really created. Every community has some kind of environment or “ecosystem” for entrepreneurs, just not always one that is conducive for thriving. Debilitating competition from big business, resistance from banks and other lenders to lend, lack of knowledge resources on how to start a business, and a culture against risk-taking or profit-making can all conspire to make entrepreneurship difficult. As a result, a potential entrepreneur, even if he/she had a great idea, may never attempt to start a business, not because they lack ideas, but because they don’t know how, don’t know how to find resources, and (perhaps worst of all) feel all alone. When conditions fail to support entrepreneurs in an area, great ideas die untried, and solvable problems remain unsolved.  Read more

An Abundance of Counselors: Practical Steps to Set Up an Advisory Board

We are revisiting some of the classic material from The BAM Review blog on governance, accountability and the support that a BAM practitioner needs around them to thrive.

 

Dear BAM Mentor,

I keep hearing that having an Advisory Board is good idea for a BAM company. How is an advisory board different from other kinds of boards and how should I go about setting one up?

~ Needing Advice

Dear Needing Advice,

The question arises as to the purpose and practicality of an Advisory Board for a small business or a startup. I have had advisory boards for several of the businesses I’ve launched and served on advisory boards for others. Needless to say, I am a big fan.

King Solomon put it like this:

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”  Proverbs 11:14

“…for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”  Proverbs 24:6

The basic premise of an Advisory Board is that, rather than try to figure out everything on your own, you can enlist the wisdom, perspective and experience of others to help you “wage your war.” In addition to advice there is also a healthy element of accountability – something many entrepreneurs don’t want, but something all of them need. Read more

From Idea to Impact: Accelerating Communities of Kingdom-Minded Entrepreneurs

During our October Webinars this week Mats Tunehag had the privilege of interviewing six BAM leaders in a series of three Fireside Chats, on the themes of each day: Start-up BAM, Fruitful BAM and Long BAM.

On day two, on the theme of Fruitful BAM, Mats interviewed Matthew Rohrs and Yvonne Otieno. Yvonne is an award winning entrepreneur and CEO of Miyonga Fresh Greens in Kenya. Matthew is the CEO of Sinapis Group, a Kingdom-minded business accelerator and entrepreneur academy operating in eight countries.

Here are some excerpts from their Fireside Chat Interview:

Mats: Matthew, Sinapis is 10 years old this year, congratulations. So tell us, how do you integrate faith into your programs?

Matthew: Sinapis is an entrepreneurship training and acceleration organization. We have a variety of programs to help entrepreneurs build capacity. Then over time we build vibrant long-term alumni communities where entrepreneurs can do business with one another, solve problems together, grow in their faith, and grow in their application of what it means to lead a Kingdom business.

The name Sinapis is the Latin word for mustard seed. So when we think about that gospel story of how the smallest seed in the garden grows to become one of the largest plants and the birds of the air come and perch in the branches, we think that is an interesting picture of the kind of impact that a gifted Kingdom-minded entrepreneur can have. They start out with a small seed of an idea, and that company then grows and grows. As that company begins to have more influence, this image of the birds perching in the branches is a beautiful picture of what happens with their employees. The impact that a company can have on the employees and then their dependents and others in the community…

On the question of how we integrate faith into what we do. At the programmatic level, we gently, respectfully, but very intentionally integrate God’s truth into our programs. We’re very open to share with people that there’s biblical content and we want to talk to you if you are not a follower of Christ, what would it mean to consider following Him? And if you are a follower of Christ, how do you step in, with passion, to this beautiful calling to the marketplace?

We think our alumni communities are actually the greatest opportunity for long-term spiritual investment, to walk with entrepreneurs over time, just like Yvonne. We help them and support them in the integration of their faith into the business, but also the continued growth of the company as their challenges become more complex.

Mats: Yvonne, you are one of those mustard seeds! How did going through the program change you and the impact on your various stakeholders?

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How We Integrate Business and Mission: In Planning and Daily Operations

During our October Webinars this week, Mats Tunehag had the privilege of interviewing six BAM leaders in a series of three Fireside Chats, on the themes of each day: Start-up BAM, Fruitful BAM and Long BAM.

On day one, on the theme of Start-Up BAM, Mats interviewed Annie and Peter.* Annie is the CEO of a manufacturing business in Southeast Asia and Peter is the CEO and Co-Founder of a BAM Investment Company, with experience mentoring and investing in scores of BAM businesses over 20+ years.

Here are some excerpts from their Fireside Chat Interview:

Mats: Peter, in Business as Mission we talk about having a positive impact on multiple bottom lines, for multiple stakeholders. When should you start planning for impact on the four bottom lines, financial, social, environmental and spiritual?

Peter: Think of a number line with negative numbers to the left and zero in the middle, which marks that day, the fateful day when you open your doors for business. Then the positive numbers are to the right that mark the years as time passes. I would say that you start planning for this quadruple bottom line impact at minus 3 or minus 2 years on that number line. In other words you have to start doing that, before you start trading. Once you start trading, all sorts of pressures will overtake everything else in the business.

Now planning for that doesn’t mean it will play out the way you thought it would. Being able to adjust and pivot is the reality of BAM, so you are going to need to modify those quadruple bottom line impacts, but start early.

Mats: And, how do you monitor progress towards that integrated impact?

Peter: How do you measure it? Realise that not everything can be measured quantifiably or numerically. A lot of measurement in BAM companies is qualitative, especially the relational side of things. I know many might think in terms of hard numbers when it comes to things like numbers of people that have come to know the Lord, or various other spiritual impact metrics. However, that’s very hard to do, and runs the risk of taking things into your hands and out of the hands of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean you don’t focus on those things. You can plan for and document activities that may lead to that impact. But in terms of the progress of the Kingdom in people’s lives from a spiritual point of view, largely that is out of our hands. The other thing I think you can measure is what I call redemptive impacts, on things like poverty and justice issues… We advise people to develop a very rigorous commercial plan, and also a very rigorous spiritual impact plan.  Read more

Ask a BAM Mentor: Tensions in Integrating Business and Mission?

Three experienced BAM mentors answer a common question: how do you deal with seeming tensions in integrating business and mission?

 

Dear BAM Mentor,

I am feeling some tensions as I begin to integrate mission and business goals together in my business operations. What tensions have you felt and how have you overcome them? What practical tips or principles have you found helpful?

~ Tense in Tashkent

Dear Tense,

This is a great question and a common one. You are in good company!

First, let’s think through where the tensions may be coming from. For example, if your business partners or key managers are not believers or do not understand Kingdom Business that creates one set of tensions. Or, if you are burdened with the hangover of the “sacred-secular divide” that creates an entirely different set of tensions. Another source of tension is simply not being sure how to do solid business planning with a missions or kingdom purpose

Second, let’s think through each option.

My Partners/Managers Don’t Get Kingdom Business
If there isn’t alignment on this foundational part of your business at this time don’t despair. Take a discipling approach – patient education and demonstration can go a long way to helping your team see the eternal picture. Perhaps some reading and discussion meetings. Perhaps video training. And lots of prayer. Lots of prayer.

I’m Not Comfortable with Integration… Not Totally
We all struggle with the remains of the destructive illusion of sacred vs. secular. The good news, though is that since it’s an illusion it only exists in the mind. Soaking your mind in the truth of Scripture and some excellent writing/teaching is the answer. Books like Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller and Business for the Glory of God by Wayne Grudem are great places to start.

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