This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week and at Pickwell Manor in North Devon a group of students on the CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training Course will learn how to apply models of social enterprise to ideas which seek to enhance the lives of individuals and communities.
The five day residential is hosted by the Church Mission Society and students are encouraged to come along with a business idea to work on over the week. They attend sessions on formulating a mission statement, devising a business plan, accessing different funding streams and evaluating success. In addition, they hear stories of social enterprises that are already thriving and have the opportunity to quiz the businessmen and women behind these ventures to discover the secrets of their success.
One student in attendance, Gavin Mart, has already embraced these principles through being a trustee of Link International. This is a charity that sends teams of young people from North Wales to Uganda where they work in projects ranging from schools in the slums of Kampala to a local co-operative coffee plantation and the building of a new maternity facility.
Gavin Mart’s involvement is with biogas, another Link International project that takes naturally occurring waste and turns it into electricity. African partner, John Njendahayo, has already built a number of biogas digesters throughout Uganda since the first in the west of the country successfully powered stoves and lights where there is no mains power supply. The plan is to replicate this in inaccessible, rural locations across the country and ultimately sell biodigesters commercially. It is a goal they share with CMS Africa, who have established similar life-changing biogas projects. The skills taught on the missional entrepreneurship week will help further that aim. If you would like to find out more about the biogas initiative, please email Gavin on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Course leader, Jonny Baker, said of this unique learning opportunity, “In order for pioneering mission to be sustainable, we must embrace the practices of social enterprise and seek to make a difference while also generating finances where appropriate.
"For too long business principles have been seen as incompatible with missional activity. But if the church is to be relevant and innovative in the longer term, creative means of sharing the love of Christ need to be self supporting as well as transformative. We have created this module to begin to address this and are encouraging our students to pursue activities that will not need to be wholly dependent on charitable funding.”
For further information, visit the website www.pioneer.cms-uk.org.
Jonny Baker, CMS pioneer leadership team leader
CMS communications team
Notes to editors
Church Mission Society (CMS) is a community of over 2,500 members who want the world to know Jesus. Members commit to seven promises as they aspire to a whole lifestyle shaped by God's mission. CMS supports people in mission in over 35 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. It was founded in 1799. CMS website