Showing posts from October, 2011

2011 Hope Award for Effective Compassion Winner Runs Two Faithventure Businesses

World Magazine recently named Victory Trade School of Springfield, Missouri, its 2011 Hope Award for Effective Compassion. Victory Trade School runs an innovative Christ-centered culinary arts training program for individuals starting over from addiction, homelessness and prison. Students in the program are required to complete a year long discipleship program called Prep as a prerequisite before entering the hospitality training program. Participants then start the culinary program where they receive intensive training which results in seven certificates recognized by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation . Student receive paid on-the-job training in the organization's two faithventure businesses : the Cook's Kettle Restaurant and Branch Bistro and Catering . Check out this video to learn more about Victory Trade School: Victory Trade School; Springfield, MO from james Allen Walker on Vimeo . Via Rudy Carrasco of Urban Onramps .

The Who is as Important as the What (Joseph Vijayam)

The following is our first guest post on Faithventure Forum by Joseph Vijayam of Olive Technology . In the business world we can be laser-focused on activity or results. We work as hard as possible to measure every part of our work and increase efficiencies everywhere possible. But with all the focus on output, we sometimes forget that the “who” in our business makes the “what” possible. This is even more important in a Kingdom Business or Faith Venture as this blog refers to them. In fact, I would say it is imperative to understand the “who” when you are involved in a business as mission effort. Why is that? Well, simply put, a Faith Venture is all about motives. You could have two businesses side by side in one city block doing the same type of activity but one is a Faith Venture and the other is a normal business. The activities might look somewhat similar but the reason for doing them and the Kingdom results will be very different. Because of this, it is critical that t

Belay Denver Jail Kitchen Initiative Update

Last week, a group of us from Belay Enterprises attended a meeting with the Denver Jail leadership to discuss organizational issues regarding our potential commercial kitchen training business with a national prison industries consultant. We all came away from the meeting very excited. The consultant, with 30 years of experience in prison industries, commented that this was one of the most innovative and exciting partnerships he has ever seen. He thought that this will be a ground-breaking model for the rest of the country. He agreed that our theory of starting the faith-based employment relationship while behind bars and then transitioning it outside will have a big impact on lowering recidivism rates. With that said, one of the challenges of the project is accommodating federal prison law with regards to prison employment. To successfully do that--which the consultant thinks is not going to be a problem-- we have to satisfy the following: Need legislative authority Pay w

A Hierarchy of Challenges: Alcoholism, Homelessness and Prison

It is much harder to work with an individual rebuilding a life from addiction and homelessness than someone trying to reenter the workforce as an ex-offender. That's been my experience over the last 13 years employing and job training individuals seeking a new start from homelessness, addiction and prison in our various faith venture businesses at Belay Enterprises . Conventional wisdom tells employers to stay away from ex-offenders because they can not be trusted because of past mistakes, they are unmotivated, and they can be very difficult to work with on a daily basis. But I have found that to be completely untrue. People entering the workforce after prison tend to be highly motivated with a deep desire to succeed in order to rebuild relationships with their families and to restore their life. They just need someone to give them a chance and an environment that allows them to thrive on the job. The most challenging client we work with in our various transitional employment busin

Social Enterprise to the Rescue?

Over the last few weeks, I've learned of several non-profit organizations where donations have been significantly down for the last few months. It seems that uncertainty in the economy is starting to negatively impact giving from individuals and foundations. The reason that this has come to my attention is that these same non-profits are attempting a pro-active approach to their financial health by exploring social enterprise to supplement their sources of income. While I am always exciting to learn about faith-based organizations exploring social enterprise as a revenue source, I must counsel that organizations approach earned income ventures with realistic assumptions. A social enterprise will not save your organization's finances. At least not in the short run. Any new business venture will require significant start-up money and will take many months (years) to generate profits. Belay started Bud's Warehouse in 1994 with a large amount of start-up funding. . It stil