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What Makes a BAMer? Identifying and Deploying the Right People for BAM Companies

Interview with Peter Shaukat

With 15 years of experience recruiting for, mentoring, and investing in BAM companies all over the Arab world and Asia, Peter has a unique perspective into Human Resources for business as mission. We asked him to share his insights on recruitment and hiring for BAM companies.

What skills are BAM companies typically looking for?

Virtually any! Management skills in various business disciplines are needed. Those with good financial management skills and experience are almost always in short supply. While bookkeepers can often be found aplenty, ‘Chief Financial Officer’ type skills are another matter. Founding entrepreneurs often lack the business building skills and experience of general management of the sort that a COO or CAO brings to the table.

Marketing and/or especially sales skills and experience are highly sought after. Often an SME-sized BAM company will have some national talent on this, but to trade well internationally they require those with expat credentials for (at least perceived) credibility, access to networks, and marketing/sales channels, etc. These are often in short supply.

BAM businesses often need specific technical and/or professional skill-sets which are particular to the business in question. For example, an environmental consulting company to the textile industry in Bangladesh needs experienced chemical, industrial or systems engineers, while a civil engineering company in Pakistan will be looking for a civil or mechanical engineer or architect. An educational business in Yemen looks for qualified teachers or other education specialists whereas an agribusiness in Iraq requires an agronomist, and so on. Read more

Launching Out and Landing Well: Getting Started in Business as Mission

A to B diagramHow do people get from A to B? What propels them towards BAM? What factors help launch them out into stable, successful business as mission enterprises – wherever that might be?

We will address these questions, and others, on The BAM Review Blog this month as we delve into the topic of ‘Launching Out and Landing Well’. Here’s a preview of some of the issues we’ll cover:

Launching Well

How do we most effectively recruit and mobilise for business as mission? What are some of the challenges and opportunities we face? What are the skills and characteristics that BAM companies are looking for as they recruit? Are we recruiting in the right places and what could we do better? How do potential BAMers best develop themselves and prepare for doing business as mission? What is holding them back? Read more

Pray, Give or Go to Nepal? Pray for BAM Companies!

The Church worldwide has been mobilized to pray and give generously to Nepal in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake there ten days ago. The worst earthquake in Nepal since 1934, this disaster has already claimed over 7000 lives, with fears of more to come as disease, isolation and displacement take their toll.

As you pray and give, please pray especially for the BAM companies in Nepal, many in the worst affected areas. We know of at least 15 BAM companies in Katmandu and beyond, including those in:

  • Aquaponics
  • Garment Manufacturing
  • Information Technology – Cloud services
  • Information Technology – Software development
  • Guest House
  • Coffee Roasting
  • Coffee Shop/Cafe
  • Food Production and Retail
  • Outdoor Equipment Retail
  • Jewelry Making
  • Trekking

Please pray for these companies – the business owners, their teams and local employees. Pray for wisdom, peace and provision as they aid others, rebuild and try and get back to ‘business as usual’. Read more

Four Pillars of BAM Preparation

Living in Thailand, we are surrounded by houses built on pillars. This picture hangs in our house, a constant reminder of the importance of strong foundations. I think of a BAM business being like a house built on pillars. No matter what shape the house is, what it looks like on the outside, the pillars (or foundations) must be strong to support the structure.

Each individual launching into BAM will have different experiences and a different journey of preparation. BAM models and strategies will naturally be diverse. God is creative and He has made each of us to be creative. There is no single BAM model that will work for everyone, everywhere. However, there are at least four common areas that need to be intentionally built to form a strong foundation for any BAM business. Like the pillars supporting a house, if one of these areas is weak or missing the whole structure will be unstable. If you are getting ready for business as mission, be intentional about building up these four pillars of BAM preparation:

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Five Tips for Starting a BAM Journey

Getting stirred up for business as mission? Wondering how to get started, here are our top five tips:

1. Seek the Lord

Take time to pray. If God is calling you to serve Him in business, ask where, when, how, with who? What path of preparation is He leading you on?

2. Connect with BAM stories

Read about real business as mission experiences, or go to an event where you will hear practitioners share their stories. Stories bring ideas alive for us by literally lighting up more areas of our brain!

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Entrepreneurs on Mission: Two Barriers to Break Through

by Mark Russell

There comes a day when we sit back and ask ourselves what we are going to do with our lives. In a sense, I am still asking myself that question. But many years ago I felt a nudge, a call if you will, to spend time in cross-cultural contexts advancing the gospel. At the time, I had no idea what that entailed. The only role models I had to look to were the missionaries I had met in Paraguay. They were either medical doctors or preachers. As a business student, it seemed I would have to leave behind my business interests and develop a new set of skills.

A few years into my overseas ministry, I began to ask myself some new questions about why couldn’t one be a businessperson and a kingdom builder at the same time.   At the time I was working in a traditional missionary setting, but quickly found that a lot of people resonated with my search to integrate business and mission. Later, I realized that people all over the world were working independently to the same end. It seems God is up to something.

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BAM in a Box?

by Mats Tunehag

One can identify 3 essential activities that have helped to catalyze and grow the global Business as Mission (BAM) movement: 1. Developing the concept 2. Spreading the concept and 3. Applying the concept.

Of course one cannot credit just one book, event, person or organization with the current interest in Business as Mission amongst Christians today. BAM is a Biblical concept and thus as old as the foundational stories of creation. It is based on theology and anthropology; who God is and what he does, and who we are as human beings and what we are called to do. Good and godly principles of work and value added processes are found in the first chapters of the book of Genesis. God has used women and men throughout history to serve God and nations in and through business. Read more

Embracing the Call to Business

An Interview with Joseph Vijayam

Joseph Vijayam has had many years to think about how to integrate his Christian faith with his business life. He started Olive Technology in 1996 with a vision to support himself to do ministry, much like the Apostle Paul did when he made tents. Since then, Joseph’s understanding of ‘mission’ has developed to embrace ‘business as mission’. He describes this process as a journey, a voyage of discovering what it means to glorify God through his business life. I got the chance to talk to Joseph as he shared some of his reflections on being Kingdom-minded in business and the role of Christian business people in bringing transformation to India.

What are you most passionate about as you think about business as mission and your company today?

Well I am obviously excited about what we are doing through Olive as a company and how our own business is growing. But these days I am also thinking more and more about how we can get greater numbers of business as mission efforts started in India and around the world. I am focusing more of my energies on being a catalyst for multiplying business as mission enterprises.

If we are to see growth, I think we need to help Christian business owners understand the impact they could have, to become more Kingdom-minded in their business life. We also need to mobilize others to initiate new business as mission enterprises of every shape and size. Although of course we do need large business as mission companies, I personally think that any size of company can make an impact. Read more

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