Business is a key for getting workers into some of the most unreached places in the world. Cities, countries, which are inaccessible to mission work, Christian NGOs, and Christian charities are open to business. One of the greatest needs of those seeking to start businesses in unreached areas is start-up capital. Most of these businesses need roughly $50,000 to $100,000 to get started.
Yet there’s a common saying that only family, friends and fools invest in start-ups. Who wishes to invest when there’s maybe just a 50/50 chance of turning a profit and getting your money back?
Each business in the OPEN Network is striving to be profitable money AND engage the local people with the Good News. But without start-up funding, how are the unreached to be reached? The hardest places are not appealing to investors as these businesses incur to heavy government regulation, a lack of local business infrastructure, poor transportation for goods and services, and corruption.
More and more people want to invest in businesses and not give. I understand the need to be good stewards of our funds, but without some donations, or a revolving start-up fund for new B4T efforts how are apostolic entrepreneurs to forge ahead? How are these unengaged people to be reached for His glory? I look forward to peoples’ input.
That’s an interesting question, where is the start-up capital for B4T firms to come from? Also, what will it be spent on, just business infrastructure, or ongoing support as well? What is the potential for the firm to grow, in other words what is the specific business plan? Market, products, location, compeditors, etc., are all relevant issues, which are hard for the individual or church to assess. What is the timescale? What about the experience of the lead entrepreneur? What about reporting? These are all standard business planning questions that will impact on the answer to your question.
But where will funds come from? It has been reported in the UK this week that there has been a fall of about a fifth in the amount of money given in the UK over the last year to charity (by the general population). I don't know what has happened to giving by Christians, but with an economy that looks as though it will take a decade to recover from the credit crunch recession household budgets remain under pressure. I know many churches and many Christians give sacrificially, but is giving the right way to fund business ventures that are aiming to make a profit? Is the donation/charity ethos the right way to fund and manage the expectations of commercial ventures? Who will end up owning the firm?
What is wrong with investment, expecting a return? Show me a fund that is managed on a commercial basis, which seeks to pay a reasonable return in the medium to long term, where risk is shared and there is a specialised management then I might invest some of my retirement funds. The thought of being able to invest in B4T is exciting. Bring it on! But not within a charity/donation framework, lets break out of that paradigm, and get our best business people involved, in all the stages of planning, launching, managing and monitoring commercial ventures. Bring it on!
Thanks Des, great thots, I look forward to more input on this topic. We need to work toward practical solutions.