Nairobi Update: Diamonds in the Rough

If one of us stumbled upon an uncut, unpolished diamond, we’d probably walk right by it. It would be just another pebble blending into the background.

The same thing happens to talented, entrepreneurial people in the slum neighborhoods of eastern Nairobi. They blend right into the masses of people trying to live in extremely harsh conditions.

At T-Ventures, we believe that multitudes of future business owners can be found in these challenging settings. Many of them are hungry for training, coaching, and some start-up capital to launch or expand their current operations. When these opportunities are provided, in combination with the Gospel, the impact on their lives and community is profound.

Screen shot 2015-02-08 at 10.41.10 PM

A Diamond Example: Judy attended an impromptu BAM workshop led by Josephine, Melissa, and Bruce back in June. She left the workshop convinced that she should work with her love of creating artificial flowers and ability to arrange them. She did some word of mouth advertising and within five months had done the flower arrangements for 22 weddings, with 5 more booked between now and Christmas. Josephine reports that her confidence has soared and her face glows. Judy now employs three people and wants to grow much bigger. She is eager to add the needed entrepreneurial and business skills to her artistic ability to make her fledgling business as strong as possible and to leverage it for Kingdom impact.

While in Nairobi, Melissa and Bruce spent time Screen shot 2015-02-08 at 10.40.28 PM brainstorming with Josephine, their colleague, to launch a new round of entrepreneurial training for diamonds in the rough. This Business as Mission training includes business content, peer groups, coaching by successful business people, biblical ethics/discipleship, and networking. All this takes place over an 18 month period.

A few distinct qualities of this emerging Business Development Center (BDC):

  • Enrollment is competitive. Only the strongest applicants fill the available slots. (Judy made the cut and will be enrolling in the January BAM course, which will be offered at night.)

  • Each student pays tuition to participate in the training program. This is a first step towards the BDC’s sustainability.

  • This round of training is anchored in the Redeemed Gospel Church community.Most of the students come from this 1,500 member church. That provides automatic accountability, networking possibilities, motivation to integrate their business with Kingdom values, and avenues to channel their business impact back into their local community.

  • Local business people teach and coach the students (face to face) along with US and European business people (via Skype and email). (See the Business Builder opportunity, below.)

So why are we telling you about this? How can you be involved?

  • Pray for Josephine, the Kenyan facilitators/coaches, and the students. Sign up for our prayer team updates here.
  • Help underwrite the first rounds of training. We are subsidizing the training until it can scale to the point of generating positive cash flow for the BDC. We project a cost of $8,000 to get there. You can help us do this by clicking here.
  • Sign up to be a “Business Builder.” We need virtual coaches to check in with a Kenyan business owner/student two times per month via Skype or email. On this end, we will equip you to engage successfully. Josephine will do the same for the students in Nairobi. To learn more, email melissa@transformationalventures.com.
  • Go with us to Nairobi this Summer (June or July – dates to be determined soon). We will get to know these emerging entrepreneurs and visit their businesses. We will learn from them, encourage them, brainstorm with them, and catch a glimpse of what it means to build a business in the informal settlements of Kenya. Interested? Email us melissa@transformationalventures.com.


Screen shot 2015-02-08 at 10.41.10 PM

There are many more Judys hidden away in these communities! The families, neighborhoods, and churches of these remarkable people need them to build great businesses. By God’s grace, we can walk alongside them and help them succeed.