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Belay Enterprises Seeks Early Stage Founders for New Venture Partners Program

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Do you know a Christian entrepreneur with a new venture in the idea stage to up to 2 years old? 
Belay Enterprises is looking for early-stage founders with businesses that seek to transform lives and love the community for our new Venture Partners Program. This program matches early-stage founders with a mentoring group of 3-5 business leaders. These cohorts will meet with the entrepreneur monthly to provide high-impact advice and a forum for working through challenges. 
The Belay Enterprises’ team will also offer targeted training and support to increase the performance of the businesses. In addition, the selected founders will receive a start-up financial investment to empower business growth.  All together, this investment of mentoring, technical expertise, and financial resources aims to increase the impact and effectiveness of the new ventures. In April of 2019, we will host our first Venture Partners event where we will match 3 to 5 founders with mentor teams.
Our new program build…

WorldVenture's M2M Project Seeks to Create Jobs for Refugees in Europe

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A good job is the best way to fight poverty. This fact has formed the foundation of my career leading Belay Enterprises over the last 19 years. Employment helps people move beyond the problems of being disadvantaged. It ends homelessness, reduces crime and allows people to support their families and engage in the creativity God intends for all to enjoy through work. I have seen first-hand in Denver how good jobs in faithful businesses transform lives. 
This Fall, I have a tremendous opportunity to take what we’ve learned at Belay and partner with Denver-based WorldVenture on its new M2M project aiming to impact changing cities throughout Europe.
Like in the United States, Europe has experienced an influx of refugees from the Middle East, fleeing violence and persecution. The M2M project is launching community centers in strategic cities throughout Europe to help refugees flourish and experience the Good News of Jesus. These community centers in places like Strasbourg, London and Barcelo…

Belay Enterprises Seeks Christ-Following Mentors and Early-Stage Founders for New Venture Partners Program

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When I ask successful entrepreneurs about their own startup experience, many regret not having found a business mentor for advice and support during that season.
Others wish they had been more intentional about their most impactful activities like how important it is to focus on marketing.  Some share they underestimated the significance of hiring the right team members at the right time or didn’t understand how the loneliness of leadership hurt their effectiveness and relationships. What makes this list interesting is all of these items could have found a solution in intentional, high-impact mentoring with experienced business leaders. This becomes even more true for Jesus-following founders who want to live out their faith through their business. It is not common to find startup advice online about how to help one's employees flourish, how to build a business that blesses its customers, or, for some ventures, how to hire individuals who were formerly homeless.  Support from a Ch…

Life Springing Up in the Conference Room

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I'm a big believer in the career and life skill program we use at Bud's Warehouse to train people rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison. 

A big part of this intensely relational program is our weekly hood-check where everyone shares what is going on in their life. I'm such a fan of this activity because of the tremendous camaraderie and personal breakthroughs I've witnessed over the years during this time.  I firmly believe every company would see big benefits by implementing a weekly hood-check. 
So it was exciting, a few years ago, when an entrepreneur with a new start-up company called me bubbling over with stories about starting a hood-check at his business. Every workday they are gathering in the morning to implement pieces of the Bud's Warehouse program in a for-profit setting. 

He told me it's turned into one of the most incredible experiences of his adult life. The employees have grown incredibly close to each other while experien…

Five Things I've Learned in Business as Mission

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For the last 18 years, I have been working in the challenging world of business as mission at Belay Enterprises. Someone recently asked me what would make up my list of five important lessons for a faith venture. As a reminder, I define a faith venture as a for-profit or non-profit business that creates employment and opportunity for a disadvantaged population. In no particular order, here’s my list:

1. Let the business lead the ministry- A faith venture has two bottom lines. It seeks business profits in order to support itself and grow. It also hopes to change lives by accomplishing its ministry. The great danger is that sometimes these two goals conflict with each other. In certain cases pursuing the mission will cost the mission and vice versa. I believe that if one is pursuing a Christ-centered business then all of business is ministry. So it then becomes acceptable to let the business lead the ministry because without a focus on the bottom-line this unique ministry …

You Must Do this One Thing in a Business as Mission

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I was recently asked in a meeting of executives what was one thing I would recommend to a Christ-following business owner wanting to bring his or her faith more directly into the workplace.

Without hesitation, I immediately recommended what we call the “hood-check.”

This particular discussion was interesting because most of the participants came from the for-profit world and they were really struggling with how to appropriately increase the role of faith in their companies without alienating employees or running in violation of discrimination rules.

I have a slightly different perspective because our non-profit organization, Belay Enterprises, was specifically set up as an urban business as mission incubator. We actively combine faith and business as instruments in rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness or prison. Sometime other business owners seem to think that this special perspective from our unique “DNA” makes our approach not immediately replicable in a trad…

The Golden Rule for Business as Mission

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"What’s the nicest thing someone has done for you?"
With that question, we opened a recent Bud’s Warehouse morning staff gathering. 
Someone shared about the time he was arrested but the officer arranged to have him released quickly. The policeman waited two hours for him to be processed and then drove him to get help. It was the one caring act that changed the course of his life.
Another staff member told about how a counselor in a drug treatment program went out of her way to help him get into a long-term program. “She single-handedly gave me a shot at having a life again,” he said.
Several others talked about how friends and parents selflessly helped them when they were in need. Everyone quickly realized that sacrifice and selflessness is always behind those nice actions.
But when we changed the question to what was the nicest thing you did for someone else, the room grew quiet, mostly because it’s hard to talk about such things because ex-offenders have been conditioned …