Exploring the intersection of faith & entrepreneurship for disadvantaged communities.
Rochester Furniture Manufacturing Business Employs the Chronically Homeless
Hope Initiatives in Rochester, New York, seeks to address the causes of poverty in its community by employing and job-training individuals with significant employability issues in a faith-based program.
The organization operates a manufacturing business that produces 20,000 pieces of furniture a year as well as a local moving and storage business.
That fact has formed the foundation of my career leading Belay Enterprise's
over the last 18 years. I have seen first-hand how good jobs in faithful organizations transform lives.
Employment helps people move beyond the problems of being disadvantaged. It ends homelessness and prevents individuals from returning to prison. It allows people to support their families and engage in the creativity God intends for all to enjoy through work.
Work also provides the environment for people to learn about God in faithful businesses.
Since 1994, Belay Enterprises' mission has been to partner with the church to start businesses that employ
and job train individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison. Over the past 24
years, Belay has incubated six projects in Colorado that have hired hundreds of
different points over the years, Belay has set various goals of starting a certain number of businesses by a future date. But increasingly we realize that t…
I was excited to see Catherine Rohr's essay "Why You Should Hire Ex-Cons" in Inc today. She makes a wonderful case that I hope many employers will read. I've long hoped the case for ex-offender employment would start getting a wider audience.
As I've written before, employers need not fear hiring ex-offenders. They provide a excellent source of dedicated workers desiring to move beyond the mistakes of their past.
And while you are at it, check out the great work Rohr's organization Defy Ventures is doing in NYC.
Many business owners have overlooked a great source of untapped talent:
former inmates. Many former drug dealers and gang leaders have skills
and attributes you value most in employees, including charisma,
resourcefulness, resilience, a willingness to take calculated risks, and
strong management skills. "Why You Should Hire Ex-Cons," Catherine Rohr in Inc, June 25, 2012
Read rest of the story here.
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 …