Can micro-enterprise make a difference to the poor? One mission team works to prove it does.

By August 4, 2006

International (MNN)–Recovering from war can take a country years.

Intervarsity’s John Terril believes that micro-enterprise development is one of the most effective vehicles toward that transformation.

He was recently in the Central African Republic, showing how, but says the model still holds true for any country struggling in war recovery. “When you don’t have lots of legal stability and political stability, in many ways you want to come under the radar screen and incubate the work of entrepreneurs to begin to rebuild the climate economically.”

Without infrastructure to pave the way, sometimes, micro-enterprise is the most effective response. “Oftentimes, in situations that are really unstable, micro-enterprise development would be kind of a ‘first stage’ initiative.”

These kinds of projects utilize the skills, experiences, and training of business practitioners, are part of a larger, growing movement called Business-As-Mission (BAM).

“Given the forces of globalization in the world,” he says, “the BAM movement seeks to harness the unique opportunities available to business practitioners for holistic transformation in the lives of people, institutions, and countries around the world.”

The ‘Open for Business’ track offered at Urbana 06 is specifically geared to explore such possibilities. It will build, mobilize, and equip a multi-generational network of business practitioners who seek to harness the potential of business to contribute to the global advance of God’s Kingdom around the world.

The conference will focus on the business as an agent for holistic transformation, because that, Terrill explains, is what this project is really all about. “Many of the folks involved in this movement are really concerned and are motivated primarily by spiritual transformation. They want to see people grow in their relationship with Jesus. They want to be a part of expanding the work of the kingdom of God in these parts of the world.”

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