IBEC Ventures -- Consultants for BAM/Business as Mission
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Proud parents: introducing IBEC’s new website

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Beaming with pride and joy! That’s how we feel about introducing you to the new IBEC Ventures website.

These proud parent feelings surprised me recently when I visited the new IBEC home page and paused to reflect on what I was seeing. There, before me, was a beautiful new creation, “fearfully and wonderfully made”, albeit a website, not a divinely designed baby. Nonetheless, in it, I could see the prayerful preparation and months of hard work by the IBEC Leadership Team and our excellent graphics and website development team1. Being intimately familiar with the tremendous quality of information it provides, I could envision the lives it will impact. And this brought a smile to my face!

The new home page is centered around five key IBEC connection points:

  • Our Clients: giving prospective clients a clear window into the types of organizations IBEC serves and the specific ways that we can address their individual needs
  • Our Team: showcasing our amazing team of consultants and subject matter experts and the exceptional training and resources we equip them with through the brand new IBEC Consultants Training Program and Resource Library.
  • Our Approach: sharing who we are as an organization – our services, our processes, our vision and values, our history, the countries where we serve, and our reputation in the BAM community.
  • Our Blog: featuring this week’s latest blog and the wealth of Kingdom business expertise, ideas, and best practice sharing in our archive of over 130 IBEC blogs.
  • Our BAM Video Library: highlighting Business As Mission and Kingdom Business practitioners in 26 videos designed to inform, inspire and help you see how you can be part of the global BAM movement. 

In the weeks ahead we’ll be peeking under the blanket to show you more about each of these key areas. For now, we invite you to look for yourself and see if you don’t agree: our new baby is pretty darn cute! Click here to see what we mean: IBEC Ventures Home Page.

1 Our website design and development team - thank you!

Carolyne Hart, e-Marketing and Social Media Director, IBEC Ventures

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Focus on Nepal

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Many times we are asked questions about where we work. Sometimes we cannot be specific due to client confidentiality, but basically the countries are in the northern half of Africa, and in South and East Asia. Nepal is one of those countries. It is a unique country but in many ways it is typical of the kinds of places where IBEC consultants work.

Demographics: The population of Nepal is about 30 million with the median age 23.6. The geographic area is about the size of the state of Arkansas. It is a beautiful place with about three-fourths of its terrain as mountainous with eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains along Nepal’s border.

Politics and Economics: While Nepal is a Federal Parliamentary Republic, it has struggled to move on from a Monarchy as recently as ten years ago and strong opposition from the Maoist party. The current constitution was adopted in November 2015. There are 122 political parties. The capital is Kathmandu.

The GDP per capita is $2500 (2016 est.) making it one of the least-developed and poorest nations. About one-fourth of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. Agriculture provides a livelihood for about 70% of the population. Unemployment is estimated to be 46%. The country is landlocked and has periodic tensions with its southern neighbor, India.

Ethnicity and Religion:There are many ethnic groups with the largest having about 17% of the population, the Chhettri. 81.3% consider themselves to be Hindu, and 9% Buddhist. Guatama Buddha is thought to have been born in Lumbini, Nepal.

Considering the unemployment, poverty and uncertainties described above,1 it is not hard to understand why IBEC sees this as an important place to:
  1. Develop profitable and sustainable business.
  2. Create jobs.
  3. Bring the love of Jesus.
IBEC’s first consultant, Ken Leahy has devoted much time to Top of the World Coffee and this company is now quite profitable and sustainable, creating jobs and sharing the Good News. IBEC has coached companies in the tourism sector and an IT company; and currently is involved with a trekking company, guest house, and an entertainment business, with IBEC’s Director Bob Bush coaching these. All of these focus on the Quadruple bottom lines of profit/sustainability, job creation, making followers of Jesus and using resources wisely.2

Nepal is both unique and typical of the kinds of places served by IBEC Ventures. We count it a privilege to provide services to companies in this country.

1 Statistics from the CIA World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/np.html.
2 Check out IBEC’s purpose, vision, values and story at http://ibecventures.com/about.html

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Kingdom entrepreneurial business - the best answer!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The following is an extract from an article citing recent comments from Nobel Peace prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank. Certainly job creation, poverty reduction and social enterprises which focus on the Quadruple Bottom Line (which includes making followers of Jesus) are foundational to Kingdom thinking and missional businesses.

World's growing inequality is 'ticking time bomb': Nobel laureate Yunus - November 30, 2016 - Reuters.com

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The widening gap between rich and poor around the world is a "ticking time bomb" threatening to explode into social and economic unrest if left unchecked, Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus said on Thursday.

The banking and financial system has created a world of "the more money you have, the more I give you" while depriving the majority of the world's population of wealth and an adequate standard of living, Yunus told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Wealth has become concentrated in just a few places in the world ... It's a ticking time bomb and a great danger to the world," said the founder of the microfinance movement that provides small loans to people unable to access mainstream finance.

A 2016 report by charity Oxfam showed that the wealth of the world's richest 62 people has risen by 44 percent since 2010, with almost half of the super-rich living in the United States, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion fell 41 percent.

"This creates tension among people at the bottom (of the income ladder). They blame refugees and minorities - and unscrupulous politicians exploit this," said Yunus, "You don't trust other people, so you build walls," he said.

To break free from an unequal financial system that disadvantages the poor, people should use their creative energy to become entrepreneurs themselves and spread wealth among a broader base of citizens, said Yunus.

"People are not born to be job seekers - they are entrepreneurs by nature," he said, adding that businesses that are focused more on doing social good than generating maximum profit can help to rectify economic and gender inequality.

"If wealth comes to billions of people, this wealth will not come to the top one percent (of rich people), and it will not be easy to concentrate all the wealth in a few hands," he said.

Yunus, 76, revolutionized finance for the poorest when he started providing tiny loans to Bangladeshi villagers at market interest rates without requiring collateral, helping them to escape what he termed a "slavery" relationship with loan sharks.

Grameen Bank, founded by Yunus, has lent money to 8.8 million people in Bangladesh alone since it was set up 40 years ago and its model of providing small loans to people, mostly women, has spread across the world.

(Reporting by Astrid Zweynert; Editing by Katie Nguyen)

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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3 lessons from slack-key guitarists

Saturday, February 04, 2017

My wife and I just returned from a two-week vacation in Maui, our first visit to that nostalgic island. While there we attended a slack-key guitar concert, coordinated by Grammy-award winning artist, George Kahumoku, Jr. with guitarists Peter DeAquino and Kawika Kahiapo.

We enjoyed classical Hawaiian music but also heard historical details of the music and culture of the islands. As the artists told their personal stories and related them to the land, sea and winds of the islands, three key points stood out as principles for success in just about anything, including business.

1. It's in the blood.

It became clear while listening to George that he credited his God-given abilities in music to how God had wired him as with so many of his colleagues. It seemed that his mind and time constantly gravitated to the rhythms of the forefathers.

That got me thinking about business and especially entrepreneurs. It is almost impossible to be successful if it is not “in the blood”. God has wired people to be successful in business, whether as an entrepreneur, a management type or as a financial expert. As IBEC seeks to find clients who start and operate Kingdom businesses, it is important to find people who wake up and think of business all day long – because that is how they are wired. It is in the blood. It is God-given.

2. Mentoring is important.

Peter tells the story of how his family and neighbors would sing for hours in the evenings and on weekends. As a 5-year-old he was always excluded but he continued to hang around, asking questions and finding a spare guitar or ukulele, sometimes when others had gone to sleep. He started to learn and play by listening and seeking help from those more accomplished.

Mentoring is important in business. I have highlighted in other blogs the fact that no entrepreneur ever reaches success alone. It takes others who coach, provide mentoring and expertise which she or he does not have. Just as a world-class guitarist is mentored by the masters, so should everyone seeking to reach success in Kingdom business-building be coached and mentored.

3. Be a life-long learner.

Kawika is incredibly accomplished in his musical skill – both as a writer and musician. But repeatedly he referred to learning new chords, melodies, stories to write, and rhythm variations. As a musician he will be a learner until he dies.

So too in business – we can never afford to stop learning. A recent blog reflects on the importance of life-long learning:

To resolve or not to resolve - that is the question!

It was there that I quoted Wayne Gretzky, the best hockey player to ever play the game, "... you never learn enough about the game both on and off the ice, and from the guys who have been through it."

One more blog on life-long learning:

A tale of three businesses: the importance of life-long learning

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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IBEC Ventures -- Consultants for BAM/Business as Mission