Showing posts from June, 2011

Rachel's Story

Andy Magel just finished a video on Rachel, one of our recent graduates at Bud's Warehouse. It's guaranteed to make your day better. Rachel's Story from Andy Magel on Vimeo . Bud’s Warehouse and Belay Enterprises has been providing employment and career development training for individuals seeking employment while rebuilding lives from homelessness, poverty, addiction or prison for over 16 years. We are in the 11th month of an exciting relationship with local transitional housing provider Providence Network . As part of an innovative grant funded by Mile High United Way, individuals get a supportive transitional home program as well as employment and job training through a comprehensive partnership. I'm excited to share Rachel's story as one of our recent graduates of this innovative program. And, as always, we are seeking out new opportunities to create businesses that employ individuals rebuilding lives like Rachel.

Thistle Farms Creates Bath Products and Opportunity for Women Rebuilding Lives

Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tennessee, is a faith venture run by the Magdalene Community that produces a popular line of natural bath and body products sold at over 140 stores throughout the country . This exemplary social enterprise employs and trains 32 Magdalene residents rebuilding lives from addiction, domestic violence, or prostitution in a 11,000 square foot production facility. Other faith ventures can learn much from this organization's philosophy, passion, and 24 Spiritual Principles . It also offers one of the country's best faith-based career and life-skill training programs. The organization was recently profiled on NPR's Talk of the Nation found here .

The Fine Line of For-profit/ Non-profit Competition for Social Enterprise

A recent segment on CPR's Colorado Matters highlights Colorado Correction Industries , the organization that runs several enterprises that employ offenders in the state prison system. The various ventures include farm-raised fish, forest fire fighting, office furniture assembly, and buffalo milk. I was particularly interested in the radio host's line of questions pertaining to perceptions in the community that the prison projects were hurting existing businesses. This is a complaint that on occasion surfaces whenever community organization start operating businesses. Numerous examples exist of nonprofit ventures receiving such criticism from for-profit competitors, especially college bookstores and hospitals. To lessen such criticism, social enterprise leaders need to focus, focus, focus on their mission. They must actively sell what benefit they provide to the community as a whole and carefully work to avoid the perception of unfair advantage by not taking unfair advantage

An Unexpected Guest Emphasizes the Importance of Faithventures for People Rebuilding Lives

If you are in charge of reducing the rate of ex-offenders returning to prison, what are the four top factors leading to a decline in recidivism? With that very question, I start many of my presentations about Belay Enterprises . I like it because it helps groups to focus on a main reason for our incubation of faith venture businesses . And it gives a chance to interact with the group while wrestling with the issues around recidivism . About a month ago, I started my presentation to 50 business people at the Partners Worldwide/Belay breakfast with that very question. I was prepared for the standard give and take but then someone unexpected raised their hand. It turned out that a homeless man had found his way into the gathering and was enjoying breakfast and the talk. He raised his hand and answered my question: “Employment, type of offense, counseling, and education.” The crowd missed the fact that this man had hit a home run. Each of his points were true and in perfect order o