Well this week is Global Entrepreneurship Week. So it was a very fitting time for the CMS module on missional entrepreneurship. It is a pretty unique course and whilst last year’s was wonderful it felt like the team had really sharpened it up. It’s a course that is designed to work best if you have an idea, or social enterprise, or mission project to work up during the week.
The location of the course is in Devon at Pickwell Manor which could not be better. We were fortunate to have glorious sunshine on two days and a few people braved the surf.
As well as sessions on developing an idea, resourcing, mission and business, communication, measurement and evaluation… there was lots of time working in groups so that people could develop their own projects.
Through the week there were lots of visitors sharing their stories – people like low carbon guru Mukti Mitchell running cosyhome , or Mark Wakeling running Freeset.
It was exciting to have some resource people who have experience in funding or are funders. We ended the last morning with a dragons den style pitching session.
The week got me thinking (again) about mission and business and entrepreneurship. There is definitely some challenge and differences of opinion around money and how to live a life of authentic faith in a society that runs under the (il)logic of capitalism. This is a quick summary of how I see it personally…
What God is doing in the world is to transform and heal creation. Mission is discerning what God is doing and joining in. And doing that using the local context, the gifts and personality and calling you have and a community might have.
Entrepreneurship has a whole range of uses and definitions. So here’s my take – it is put together from two words entre – between or space, and preneur – to take. So it simply means to fill a space. In this sense I think entrepreneurs are people who see a gap and innovate in that space to build something new. On this definition it needn’t be a business but it must be something that has a new edge to fill a space and it must lead to something being built.
So putting these together missional entrepreneurship is innovating in a space to build something new that contributes to the healing and transformation of creation.
Business and enterprise are key aspects of many things that are built and there is lots of interest in them in the charity sector because if there are ways to bring transformation that are also income generating and sustainable in ways that are different to grants then that is a good thing. We are certainly interested in them from a mission perspective. But my take is that they key question is the larger frame and how innovation including social enterprise sits within that wider frame. I am still a great believer in giving as a way to support mission (and charity and the arts). The UK has a good history of patronage in charity, mission and the arts. And I am a great believer in business and enterprise as mission that can be transformative in and of itself. And I don’t even mind good business that generates profit that is invested in mission or a mixed economy of the above.
I think places will fill up quite quickly for November 2013 so get in contact soon if you are interested.