If you are thinking you are way too unprepared to be a social entrepreneur, then we will get along quite well. Before my sophomore year in college I had no idea what social entrepreneurship meant. I kept hearing the term mentioned in conversations; and being the curious individual I am, I decided to take a Social Entrepreneurship course as an elective. This class really broadened my understanding of how significant this field is and how a business which is leveraged with the gospel in mind could make a powerful impact in the world and in the lives of others. Social Entrepreneurship can be a powerful way to help address the world’s problems through business and innovation.
As part of the course I was required to submit a rough business plan to The Asbury Project. My older sister Emily and I began to hatch a crazy idea, but crazy ideas in the hands of Christians can change the world. Being born and raised in Ghana we witnessed first-hand the effects of brokenness. One problem was unemployment within local villages that forced women to move to the larger city of Accra in search of jobs. While trying to find jobs they are subjected to poverty, physical abuse and often wind up in sex trafficking.
Emily came up with “By Grace” Designs and I decided to pitch the idea. By Grace Designs fights human sex trafficking occurring in Ghana, West Africa by providing employment within the local villages so the women can remain in their hometown and avoid the high at-risk areas in the larger southern cities. They create beautiful pieces of women’s apparel, which we sell in America. To find out more please go to bygracedesigns.org. We submitted the plan and God established our steps as we walked in faith, and we ended up receiving first place.
Isaiah 58: 6-7 says, “…… Free those who are wrongly imprinted; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”
Social Entrepreneurship can be a tool chest to engage our culture and leave a kingdom-level impact. We all have special abilities and talents that God has gifted us with. Everyone has a unique perspective on life and a unique lens that enables us to look at the world differently. This makes social entrepreneurship beautiful and diverse in the way each has a unique vision for a better future.
For social entrepreneurs, we envision a better future, and then we strive to materialize that future for the betterment of people and the world. All it takes is a vision (Acts 2:17), and a God-given passion to run after it (1Chronicles 28:20). I hope to inspire others to look at the gifts and tools in their own tool chest, which God has uniquely entrusted them with—and then to help them dream about how they might be able to cast their God-given vision as well as provide encouragement to run after it.
I have witnessed first-hand the results of how a business can change the lives of women in Ghana. Seeing this has increased a passion in me for using business with the gospel in mind that helps foster positive social change. My advice is to take those courageous steps even in places you might not be comfortable in at first, and see how God moves. Sometimes when God wants you to grow, He makes you uncomfortable.
So what do you care about? Why should you care? What does God care about? How do we fit into his plan? What does human flourishing look like? These are all important questions which have helped me think about my purpose in social entrepreneurship. We are all little dots on a bigger canvas, who together paint a picture of who God is. What will you bring to the overall picture to reveal God in a world that desperately needs him? How will you run with courage the path God has placed you on?
If you’re interested in social entrepreneurship, or just remotely curious, I encourage you to come to the next Asbury Project (Nov. 10-11 in Wilmore, KY). Sit and meet with individuals who are revealing God’s kingdom through social entrepreneurship. Hear stories, and come to the Asbury pitch where students from the seminary and the university hash out incredible ideas that are way out on the curb doing different things.
Any business exists because people determine that it should, and then proceed to create it.
Josh Moon is a first-time contributor to Faith and Work Collective. Thanks, Josh!