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Honoring the past | embracing the future - Part 2

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Earlier this week we cited developments in honor of the past year (2015) in IBEC’s growth and development.  We thank God for those accomplishments and we now want to build upon them as we embrace 2016.

Four months ago at our annual retreat we affirmed our purpose statement:

We help build sustainable businesses through consultative expertise 

that changes lives and transforms communities.

We also affirmed our core beliefs which drive our action plans:

Viability – God uses business to make followers of Jesus.
Urgency – Making followers and building kingdom communities starts in the present.
Responsibility – God’s people are personally accountable for reaching the unreached through business.

Truly purpose statements, beliefs and goals are important.  But goals always meet with challenges, so we trust our readers will partner with us in moving ahead with appropriate action plans to incorporate God’s people in business to use their business, make a difference in North America and abroad, and see results in reaching the unreached.

Some of the challenges and opportunities identified in late 2015 which are priorities for 2016 are:
  1. Consultants and Subject Matter Experts: We need more quality consultants and subject matter experts.  Says Jim Mayer, Director of Recruiting, “…we continue to look for more people with the right kind of heart, experience, margin, and life skills so that we can provide the best consulting help to those who need it in the hard-to-reach areas of the world.” If you or someone you know might be a good addition to IBEC’s consulting team, please contact Jim at jim.mayer@ibecventures.com.
  2. Markets Served: It is important to identify the best market for IBEC’s services.  Historically we have served markets in the mission sector, but we sense the landscape shifting toward established business people taking their businesses abroad, and secondly national start-ups.
  3. Partners and Alliances: Who are our best partners and alliances in order to be stronger together and pursue economies of scale?  We continue to desire to develop strategic partnerships with stateside organizations that are training and preparing entrepreneurs and business developers (incubators and accelerators); we want to partner with financial institutions that provide equity and loan partners as well as donations and grants; we also seek partners who develop intellectual property and challenge the resource community.
  4. Revenue Model: How can we create a balanced diversified revenue model which will create value from consultative expertise, training and education and donations?
  5. Measuring and Reporting Value: There is a challenge to be able to measure success, or perhaps like Einstein suggested, “Strive not to be a success, but to be of value.”  How do we know we have created value, and how can that be measured and reported?
As you reflect on this past year and look to the new year ahead, what challenges and opportunities do you face? We appreciate each and every one of you reading this! We pray that for every opportunity and challenge in your path, God’s vision, wisdom and provision will go before you and your organizations. God bless you in 2016.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Honoring the past | embracing the future - Part 1

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I was speaking at a large Christian university in the eastern USA last month and I saw a large engraving in one of the buildings, “Honor the past – Embrace the future”.  Let’s do that as this week we honor this past year in IBEC’s life and next week we will embrace the future.

“The Godly people in the land are my true heroes.  I take pleasure in them.”  Psalm 16:3 (NLT)


Surely the strength of IBEC is its people.   This was Bob Bush’s first full year as our CEO and we see how God is using him.  During the year 2015, six new consultants were vetted and trained as they joined with dozens of others currently on projects as IBEC consultants or Subject Matter Experts.


This year we initiated 10 new projects in Kenya (2), South Sudan, Thailand, Nepal (2), Ghana, Haiti and China and the USA (focusing on Afghanistan and India).  These projects along with existing ones reflect market segments such as agriculture (poultry and cattle), medical care, finance, irrigation, IT and Christian entertainment.  

Other key developments in 2015 included our first contract with a developed company (First Rate Financial) and we began a serious service to several nationals starting businesses.


We have never grown so dynamically as this year in the promotion of Business as Mission and IBEC itself:
  • Two movies were produced and distributed in January, presenting two major businesses in China.
  • Twenty training videos were completed this month (December), thanks to a generous grant.
  • Our social media and digital marketing program is having significant growth and impact, reaching over 500 people and organization through our weekly blog and posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Our quarterly newsletter connects with over 400 subscribers and our videos on YouTube and Vimeo reach many more. All of this is focused on expanding Business As Mission content, connections and Kingdom impact within the BAM community, for God's glory. 
Director Bob Bush affirms, “Through our hands-on approach, the IBEC team continues to grow with one common goal in mind…to reach the unreached throughout the world, and build His kingdom through business.”  We thank God for every team member, every donor, every client, and every person who draws closer to the God of the universe this past year because of IBEC and its vision.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Unwrapping Christmas

Friday, December 18, 2015

Have you ever set out to check on something only to discover that you should have known the answer?  It just happened to me.  I wanted to check all the countries were IBEC has served and see what their Christmas traditions were.  Well, duh!  From the beginning IBEC has tried to serve the most unreached countries of the world where Jesus is not known – so there are NO Christmas traditions.

While that seems to be a rather simple fact; does it not bring sadness to our hearts and minds?  Imagine great countries like China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, or India – where IBEC works - with little or no Christmas tradition.  

While we thank God for the coming of Jesus and we recognize that the “Missio Dei” of God is dear to our understanding of Business as Mission, let’s also pray that God will bless us and use IBEC  and all of our colleagues in the BAM community in a mighty way in 2016. Let us bring his glory to many people. Let us unwrap and live out the life changing truth of Christ.  GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!    

Merry Christmas! 메리 크리스마스! Feliz Navidad! 圣诞节快乐!Joyeux Noël! เมอร์รี่คริสมาสต์! Selamat Natal! عيد ميلاد مجيد! Feliz Natal! मैरी क्रिसमस! Vrolijk Kerstfeest! শুভ বড়দিন! Krismasi Njema! Καλά Χριστούγεννα! Giáng sinh vui vẻ! С Рождеством! Maligayang Pasko!

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures (larry.sharp@ibecventures.com)

“King Cotton” and Kingdom agribusiness: what does the future hold?

Friday, December 11, 2015

My wife and I, being true Northerners, had never observed cotton growing on a plantation until just recently.  Those fuzzy bolls of soft cotton intrigued me to think about the history of cotton in America.

Even though cotton had been grown in the South from colonial times, by the 1790’s rice, tobacco and indigo dominated the Southern plantations.  However Eli Whitney’s invention and patenting of the cotton gin in 1794 stimulated “King Cotton” in the Southern states.

Whitney was an inventor of more than the gin and even though his cotton gin was pirated multiple times, it transformed southern agriculture.  However an unintended consequence was the preservation of slavery.  By 1860 one half of the Southern population was enslaved, due to the resurgence of cotton.

Whitney however was a devout Puritan and did much to help working conditions in his factories.  He constructed groups of residences for workers and instituted a series of ethical guidelines meant to promote harmonious and fair relationships between employers and employees.  These values were rooted in Puritan beliefs.  He married the granddaughter of evangelist Jonathan Edwards.

All of this got me thinking about future agriculture which is so fundamental to the preservation of the human race.  So much of the world suffers with malnutrition or starvation.  What is the role of Christians in the agribusiness world?  Surely there are modern-day “Eli Whitneys” who will contribute new technology and new methodology which will save and improve lives, while at the same time promoting God’s Kingdom values.

What will BAM agribusiness look like in the 21st century?  Will it be new and improved hydroponics, sea cultivation, biodiversity, urban agriculture?  Will it include improved seeds through genetics?  Will it be animal husbandry with an ethical basis?  Certainly in the manner of Whitney, agribusiness should be driven by value-driven Christians who will protect the environment, respect animal species, and do so based on Godly creation principles. 

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures (larry.sharp@ibecventures.com)

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IBEC Ventures -- Consultants for BAM/Business as Mission