SnapChat, Airbnb, Uber, Twitter… These are not names that are often spoken during church services or bible studies yet if we were to whip out our smartphones, many of us may find an app or two related to one of these businesses.
Business, technology and entrepreneurship are increasingly becoming interwoven into our daily lives more than we realize. Our lives are significantly influenced by technology whether we utilize it to read the Word (Bible App), get to work (Uber/Lyft), save money (Groupon), or communicate with friends (Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat).
Some of us even try to leverage these innovative technologies to enhance our capacity and effectiveness in building relationships and sharing the Gospel. However, I’m interested in exploring this subject from a slightly different angle. Instead of simply using technologies and innovations to live better and minister better, what if we actually used entrepreneurship itself as a tool for fulfilling the Great Commission?
Nancy Chan wrote an awesome article back in 2014 that touches on the subject of social entrepreneurship and how it played a role in early church history. She also highlights how social entrepreneurship has been used in various forms (i.e. hospitals, orphanages, etc) as a tool to serve people and ultimately share Christ.
Taking her points even a step further, when we consider how technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to transform an idea into a viable venture, social entrepreneurship now represents an opportunity for Christians to serve and touch millions or even billions of lives through various forms of technological innovation.
Some examples include FinTech (serving through economic development), EdTech (serving through education), CleanTech (serving through environmental stewardship) and so many others.
This concept of utilizing entrepreneurship for the Glory of God is beginning to become more prevalent within the Christian community. A 2013 article entitled “When A Church Matches Missions With Entrepreneurship,” tells the story of a church that used funds acquired from the sale of land to launch a social enterprise business competition that had great results. The successes included a church-school partnership program that provides weekend meals to undernourished children, a nonprofit, non-predatory payday lender, a mobile food market that sells affordable fresh fruit and vegetables in urban “food deserts,” an educational initiative for men to combat sex trafficking, a college opportunity for postsecondary students with disabilities, and a for-profit printing business that directs profits toward clean water projects.
Inspired by projects such as these, P4CM is joining forces with SoTech Ventures, an innovative non-profit program that aims to harness the power of social entrepreneurship for the benefit of underserved and at-risk populations. P4CM and SoTech Ventures will be working together to support and invest in technology-based start-up businesses that address a diversity of social issues both domestically and abroad.
SoTech Ventures operates two primary programs. The first involves engaging and connecting with current social entrepreneurs that are seeking the advice and/or funding needed to build and launch their technologies. The application for that program can be found HERE.
Our second program is designed to train and advise individuals who would prefer to learn how they can invest in social enterprise startups and become business partners. Aspiring investors can begin their process by joining SoTech’s SETA Membership Network.
Whether you have a passion for the day-to-day grind of building businesses from the ground up or are called to a support role of managing a portfolio of social enterprises, SoTech Ventures is ready to partner with you.