Showing posts from June, 2012

Social Investment Fund Ties Financial Returns to Reductions in Recidivism Rates

As I have explored before on this blog, one of the big problems with unlocking the capital markets for social enterprise is the difficulty of providing adequate financial returns to reward investments with social aims. I've also written about how reducing recidivism can provide big savings to the government by reducing the cost of incarceration. In Great Britain, Big Society Capital has creatively married these two issues in a Social Investment Bond it has formed as part of its social investment bank, Social Finance. As the project reduces recidivism among its target of 3000 prisoners, the investment delivers corresponding increasing returns. This is a fascinating approach which you can learn more about in the latest Stanford Social Innovation Review available free online until the end of the month: The target population of the first SiB-funded program comprises 3,000 prisoners due to leave Peterborough prison over six years. In the United Kingdom, around 60 percent of s

Taylor University Assistant Professor Takes Lead Role at Faithventure Edge Manufacturing

Via Rudy Carrasco's blog Almond Nation , I learned of Edge Manufacturing , a faith venture business as mission in Bluffton, Indiana. The company manufactures high-quality plastic and metal baskets for various different commercial uses. Interestingly, Mike Rowe, the former Taylor University campus police chief and current assistant professor of Economics has recently taken on the COO position for the manufacturing company. They are committed to hiring ex-offenders rebuilding their lives who are unable to find employment. Read more about Mike Rowe and the company in a recent article in the Journal Gazette here .

Viana's Story

The success stories of people in our program provide the fuel for Belay Enterprises' efforts to incubate more business as ministries to employ individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison . Viana has been in the Bud’s Warehouse job training program for almost a year and she's ready to transition into a new job in the community as soon as the perfect opportunity opens up. And she has a fantastic story. Join us in cheering her on! And if you know of a job opening for an amazing multi-tasker with excellent computer, phone and people skills, let us know. Viana's Story from Bud's Warehouse on Vimeo .

Tattoos on the Heart: Greg Boyle's Reflections on Employing Los Angeles Gang Members

If you're interested in experiencing the crazy world of faith ventures , Father Greg Boyle's recent book, Tattoos on the Heart , is a must read. The book wonderfully captures the flavor of employing ex-gang members rebuilding lives at Los Angeles' Homeboy Industries . Instead of being a how to book or a history of Homeboy, Boyle organizes his stories around nine spiritual themes that arise out of his unique ministry. These include the importance of God, the damaging nature of dis-grace, the slow nature of God's work, the difficulty of defining success apart from God and the value of kinship. Indeed, these themes are fundamental to any faith venture business as ministry and are a good primer for anyone considering such an activity.  In particular, I loved how he understands Homeboy to be a place that absolutely needs God to show up in order to be successful. He tells how depending on God for resources became an exercise of faith. " We constantly lived

The Temptation of Under Pricing Your Product or Service

This post from Norm Brodsky is wise, wise, wise. I have consistently seen this reality in action in the various faith venture projects that Belay Enterprises has been involved with over the years.  There is a great temptation to overestimate the volume of sales and under price the value of the product you are offering.  Resist the urge to see your product or service as a commodity and instead promote its true value. When you become a commodity, you lose. It's very hard to make profits from volume at the start or in the long run. There's a funny thing about entrepreneurs: They're often way too optimistic about sales and way too pessimistic about prices. I've witnessed this phenomenon many times over the years, most recently in two women with whom I've been working. A few months ago, Carey Balogh and Julia Dawson opened a play space for kids near my home in Brooklyn, New York. It's called Frolic, and it offers classes, birthday parties, a bout