Thursday, January 14, 2016
Work is an essential part of what it means to be a human.
A job is also the single best way to fight poverty.
These two realities have formed the foundation for Belay Enterprise's mission of partnering with the church to create businesses that employ and job train individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison. Over the past 21 years, Belay has incubated six projects in Colorado that have hired hundreds of individuals.
At different points over the years, we have set various goals of incubating x number of businesses in the future. But we increasingly realize that this is not enough. If we are going to positively impact employment rates for disadvantaged communities in Colorado through jobs, we have to engage for-profit entrepreneurs, who are the true engines of job growth in a community. There are many talented entrepreneurs sitting on the sidelines of our churches that if engaged towards these goals could make a much bigger impact employing individuals rebuilding lives from poverty than Belay by itself.
This year, we are rolling out our newest project, the Belay Venture Partners program. We plan to connect Denver area Christian leaders with emerging entrepreneurs to provide technical assistance, mentoring relationships and venture funding. Visit our website here to learn more.
I am also excited to be embarking on a trip to Thailand and Nepal next week to learn more about job development for the poor in Asia. A few of the businesses that we will be visiting have the mission of creating employment for women escaping sex trafficking. I've been a big fan over the years of trying to find ways for urban business as mission practitioners in the United States to partner with their international counterparts. I'm hoping that this trip will develop some new relationships that will enable business people to connect with the missions in both settings while growing the impact of these ventures.
Stay tuned on this forum for updates on my visit.