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Growing a Kingdom-Minded Business Community in Indonesia

Kingdom Business Community (KBC) is a network for Christian business people in Indonesia. Describing itself as a marketplace ministry movement with ‘business as mission’ concerns, it is one of the largest networks of mission-focused business people in the world.

KBC began in 2005 with 10 couples of business friends from the same church who dreamed of catalyzing transformation on a national level through the practice of business. Ten years later, KBC has trained thousands of business people and hosts 30 training camps each year in five different regions around the country.

Kingdom Business Community adalah pelayanan marketplace di Indonesia yang aktif dan telah memiliki lebih dari 5.500 alumni beserta jaringannya dan memfokuskan pada pertumbuhan pemimpin usaha (GLORY LEADERS) serta membangun perusahaan yang didorong oleh tujuan yang baik.

KBC didirikan pada 14 Januari 2005, dipelopori oleh 10 pasang suami istri yang pada saat itu sedang menangani acara “Business As Mission” di Jakarta Sejak itu KBC terus berkembang hingga 6 kota (Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Bali, Bandung dan Jogyakarta) dengan lebih dari 200 fasilitator dan mentor yang mendukung secara penuh kegerakan KBC.

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In Business for Freedom: The Red Light District of Kolkata

The company ‘FBA’ is located in the largest, and most infamous sex district in Kolkata, India. Within a few square miles more than 10,000 women stand in line selling their bodies to thousands of men who visit daily. Many are trafficked from Bangladesh, Nepal and rural India. For others poverty has left them without options. The cries of hungry children drive them to sell their bodies. FBA opened its doors in 2001 starting with twenty women who were desperate for an opportunity to be free. It was hard work teaching uneducated and unskilled women to sew jute bags at a quality acceptable for the export market. Some could barely use a pair of scissors and in those early days the average daily output per person was less than two bags. It was particularly frustrating when bags were sewn upside down and inside out and nobody noticed. Slowly these problems were overcome with much training and patience. Today, while many of the women are still not the fastest sewers, the business produces around 1000 bags a day made from jute and cotton material.

FBA entered a new market in 2009 by offering fair trade organic cotton tees (t-shirts). Girls showing ability in bag sewing were given the opportunity to train and learn new skills sewing t-shirts. Although smaller than the bags unit, FBA Tees is capable of producing 400 tees per day.

In the first few years all screen-printing was outsourced locally, however print quality and timely supply was out of our control. To overcome these problems and take advantage of the opportunity to create more jobs for freedom, FBA now has its own screen-printing unit supplying two customers, FBA Bags and FBA Tees.

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The Final Frontier? BAM in Mongolia

Mongolia is seen as the “Final Frontier” for many people. It stirs up images of the horse herds that still run free across her open steppes. From the harsh arid climate of the Gobi Desert in the south, to the pristine lakes in the frozen north that border Russia’s Siberia, the climate has forged a hardy, resilient people who work hard, play hard, and practice a survivalist hospitality.

Into this climate, Mongolia in 1990 opened her borders to doing business and trade with the rest of the world. Freedom of religion was written into her new constitution. A free market economy emerged. People were asking for the tools to cope with a new and growing economy. From 2000 to 2012, Mongolia’s resource-rich countryside has fueled what is now reported to be one of the fastest growing economies of Asia.

Into this setting business as mission entrepreneurs are finding opportunities to work with Mongolians to help them build their country on the solid foundations of faith and the hope that does not disappoint. BAM workers seek to close the gap between rich and poor; to disciple Mongolia’s young population with values which will encourage them not to buy into the despotism of capitalism, but that will build a sustainable future.

Introduction to Mongolia

Mongolia is the little known country with the big influence. It became most well-known in history in the 1200s because of Genghis Khan (Chingis, as pronounced by most Mongolians). He was the ruler who united the tribes and conquered much of Asia, ruling the largest empire the world has ever known. His grandson Kublai Khan met Marco Polo and the West was introduced to this powerful nation.

Later the Chinese would take back not only their country from the Mongols, but Mongolia as well. In the 1920s Russia helped liberate Mongolia from Chinese rule. For the next 70 years Mongolia and the Soviet Union had strong political, economic and social ties. Read more

Guidelines for Cross-Cultural Business Ethics

By Larry Sharp

This article is designed to help with decision making for business owners working cross-culturally in developing countries. It recognises that there are few absolute standards which apply to all contexts all the time and thus hopefully these guidelines will assist business owners in making tough decisions on matters related to ethics, corruption, morality, bribery and similar themes.

Some would like to believe that the Bible gives a single definitive perspective for all situations. While this is not true, the Bible does give us principles for decision making, thus in preparing for decisions it is important to understand Biblical absolutes in the light of:

  • Biblical culture
  • Our own culture of socialization
  • Our host culture of doing business

Ethics may be defined as the moral philosophy of knowing the difference between what is right and wrong and acting accordingly. It includes a moral duty and obligation to do good, a statement which seems straightforward but which is complex in light of diverse cultures. Ethics has its root in the Greek word “ethos” which means character; therefore an ethical framework is a systematic set of concepts which provides guidelines for correct behaviour that demonstrates ideal individual and corporate character.

It is important that we treat these guidelines as just that – “guidelines” that are a means to guide our customization in the application of God’s principles to contextual situations in our modern world. Read more

7 Internet and Email Security Tips for BAM Practitioners

1. Basics

Do the absolute basics of making sure you have a reputable: firewall, antivirus, anti spyware and anti malware programmes. Sometimes these come as all-in programmes, do a lot of research to find out what is best at the moment as the market changes rapidly.

For a more in depth look at what security steps you can take click here and for Windows users a list here called “Probably the best security list in the world”.

2. Email Security

Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail are not secure enough email options for people working in the non-secure world. At the very least they are vulnerable to passport hijackings. At worst it is quite possible for security agencies within the government to be regularly reading your emails.

Good secure email options, unfortunately, usually cost money. Many organisations give a secure email options. Otherwise you could use something like Swissmail.

If you use Mailchimp to email newsletters, be aware that the newsletter is effectively a web page. Yes it is secure on their server but all servers are vulnerable to hacking. For more advice, and a warning, for missionaries serving in non-secure parts of the world regarding email communication see here. Read more

14 Best Practices for Managing the Risk of BAM in Hard Places

Taking a multidisciplinary approach and drawing upon a variety of resources will enable a BAM practitioner make better decisions as they learn to identify and manage acceptable risks. Here are 14 recommended fruitful practices for managing the risk of doing business in a hostile environment – that is hostile to business, mission or life:

1. Think about risk in categories: strategic, tactical and operational

In order to bring greater clarity to thinking about the variety of risks you face, categorise your risks into arenas consistent with your strategic, tactical, and operational goals or plans for your business.

Strategic plans serve the entire organisation and begin with your mission. The design and execution of your strategic plans reveal your desired future and longer-term goals over three to five years and beyond. Strategic risks might include, for example, overall country risks.

Tactical goals support strategic goals and they are concerned with mechanisms that will fulfil various parts of the strategic plan. Tactical risk can affect part of your strategic plan, but not all of it. An example of tactical risk might be the failure of one business versus a cluster approach (having several businesses) in which the overall strategic goals will still remain intact.

Operational plans and associated risks have to do with specific procedures and processes that are carried out by the workers in your organisation. A one-time petty theft of company property is an example of operational risk.

2. Contextualise your business strategy to the kinds of risk you face

One BAM practitioner works in a classically hostile environment. There are often personal safety concerns, a high level of corruption and an inefficient if not broken infrastructure. The challenge to run a successful business is obvious. This person is succeeding, but is having to step away from some business norms to do so. Jim Collins (2001) in his book Good to Great extols the virtue of the hedgehog principle of doing one thing excellently. In the context that this practitioner lives and works, that approach would lead to certain failure. Instead this person has adopted a ‘cluster approach’, with multiple small businesses that are able to stand on their own. Read more

Four Personal Experiences of BAM in Hard Places

The BAM Global Think Tank Report on BAM in Hostile Environments shares numerous personal stories and cases from BAM companies in hard places. Here are four brief experiences:

Boat Building in East Asia

In 2009 Josh was living in East Asia and had an opportunity to buy a boat building company there. He saw the opportunity to own a company in an unreached area and use it for ‘triple bottom line’ impact: to be profitable and sustainable, to create jobs, to live out ‘Jesus’ and to make disciples of Jesus among the Muslim and Hindu population. Josh was a fully qualified architect; he had 25 years of boating experience together with experience of teaching design and construction technology; he had lived in country for five years and spoke the language fluently; he had made several disciples of Jesus on other islands. While Josh brought considerable assets to the table, he did not have a business background, he had no money and he had not rubbed shoulders with the cutthroat business world of the country. While the company for sale had proven profitable, there were several hostile factors: the previous owner had not paid taxes and had a system for smuggling profits out of the country; the owner had some debts and potentially serious liabilities against the company; the country’s tax and other typical business laws were not obvious or easily known and Josh knew of no place in country where he could go for honest help; the location was isolated for a family with three children. Read more

BAM in Hard Places: The Challenge of Business in Hostile Environments

BAM ventures are one of the innovative ways that we are called to do mission in the two-thirds of the world’s countries that are highly corrupt and require risk management skills, sound judgement, discernment, strong leadership and spiritual maturity.

Launching and/or managing a business as mission company within a hostile environment encompasses a set of risks that are unique and varied, in contrast to the more familiar kinds of risk that most businesses encounter. By anticipating, recognising and managing these risks, a BAM team is more likely to achieve business sustainability and spiritual fruitfulness. 

The Risks That Face Us  

We are conceiving risk as falling broadly into three areas:

1. Business

2. Mission

3. Personal (including family)

Risks in these three areas can overlap and vary in intensity from situation to situation.

Understanding and managing risk in any environment is usually challenging for most business owners, but navigating unfamiliar risks within a hostile environment is part of the learning process that successful BAM entrepreneurs must navigate. Successful management of these risks requires the entrepreneur to exercise a high degree of discernment and good judgment.  Read more

10 Things That Will Help or Hinder BAM Mobilisation

How do we multiply and scale the number of fruitful BAM companies around the world? One of our key tasks must be to envision and mobilise a new wave of would-be business as mission practitioners from every country on the planet. Some of those will come from a corporate or small business background, envisioned with a broader perspective on their skills, experiences or companies. Others will come from a non-profit or mission agency context after seeing the need for business as mission firsthand. Still others will be the next generation coming through schools and colleges, growing up with an integrated passion for business and God’s work in the nations.

There are many strategies and models for mobilising and equipping future BAMers. Whatever your strategy, here are 10 things that will help or hinder you:

1. God is at work

Perhaps our most important opportunity is that God is on the move in the global marketplace. God is at work among business people and business people are hungry for this message. Christ-followers in the marketplace around the globe are sensing God’s call to impact the world in and through their vocation. Our message must affirm business professionals and exhort them to use their vocational experience and expertise for God’s Kingdom work. Since we are co-workers with the Holy Spirit in the work of mobilisation, prayer must be considered vital work in the BAM community. We cannot have fruitful advocacy and mobilisation without this partnership between our efforts and God’s work in people’s lives. This is not another program for us to deliver, but a movement of God. Read more

Profit, Scale and Transformation: The Freedom Business Alliance

We interviewed Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag, who is part of the core team for the new Freedom Business Alliance initiative and asked her how the FBA came about and what it is doing.

We are hearing the term Freedom Business being used more and more, what is a ‘Freedom Business’? 

It’s a business that exists to fight human trafficking. There are several types of business that fit into this category:  businesses that create jobs for survivors of exploitation would be the most familiar, but we would also include businesses that hire vulnerable people in order to prevent exploitation, as well as the aggregators who take products from these first two to new markets. A fourth category would be businesses that provide services specifically to and for other freedom businesses (ie., communications, logistics support, etc). Finally, there are businesses who have devoted the profit from their companies to fight trafficking. These are also part of the freedom business ecosystem.

We sometimes call freedom business the ‘backwards business’. In a normal business paradigm, an entrepreneur sees an opportunity to create a product or service that meets a need in the market. By gathering a qualified staff, he sets himself up to make a profit. 

In contrast, a freedom business starts with the group of people it intends to employ. In businesses working to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, those people have been made vulnerable by poverty, lack of education, or other challenging variables. For those in business for restoration, the difficulties are greater.  Their employees have already been victimised, and the resulting trauma creates levels of complexity in life and employment. Read more