Category Archives: entrepreneurs

Peter Greer of HOPE on “Broken Aid” & the Gospel

My friend Josh Good over at AEI’s fantastic Values & Capitalism project just sent around an interview with Peter Greer.  According to Values & Cap, Peter is President and CEO of HOPE International, a global non-profit organization focused on alleviating both physical and spiritual poverty through Christ-centered microfinance in some of the most challenging places around the world, including Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti.

If you like thinking about responsible, church-friendly, gospel-driven social justice work that is friendly to entrepreneurship and aware of the power of the market to affect health for individuals, this will be like catnip to you.  I found Greer’s answers manifestly biblical and helpful.  Here’s a snatch from the broader interview (and see these helpful thoughts on the D’Souza scandal):

What are the economic realities that shape the way that HOPE International conducts its work across the globe?

Aid is broken. Economist Bill Easterly writes that despite a massive increase in aid to Africa over the last 40 years—$568 billion—most African countries are not better off. In fact, many growth rates have plummeted.

We have sufficient data to know that the only way for an economy to grow is through the private sector.

The Brookings Institution reports that since 2005, 70 million people each year are escaping poverty. According to the 58: campaign, between 1981 and 2005, extreme global poverty was cut in half, from 52 to 26 percent. This progress is largely the result of investments and job creation.

Consider China. Thirty years ago, China had more people, percentagewise, living in poverty than every country except four. Today—through economic growth—poverty has been reduced from 84 to 16 percent, according to the World Bank.

Today even Africa is poised for change. Private investments have generated more than 1.7 million jobs (from 2003 to 2010)—bypassing the effect of aid, according to the 2011 report published by Business Action for Africa and Ernst & Young

Job creation and investments, not aid, is what will cause Africa to experience growth, development and a much brighter future.

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Mark Zuckerberg and the Need for (Collegiate) Gospel Entrepreneurs

I’m not a big fan of the Huffington Post, but a slideshow on the top ten college entrepreneurs caught my eye.  Normally I avoid slideshows, but number nine in the presentation caught my eye.  I had not heard of Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, before, but his story is worth reading about:

Perhaps the most legendary college paper ever was authored by Frederick W. Smith. As an undergraduate at Yale, he wrote a paper outlining a delivery system that would work in a computer-dominated industry. Specifically, Smith postulated that “as society automated, as people began to put computers in banks to cancel checks–rather than clerks–or people began to put sophisticated electronics in airplanes–society and the manufacturers of the automated society were going to need a completely different logistics system” According to folklore, Smith received a C on the paper. But this didn’t dissuade him. After graduating from Yale with a degree in economics, his idea became a reality when, after buying the controlling interest in an aircraft maintenance company, Smith used his $4 million inheritance to found Federal Express. In 1973, the company started offering service to 25 cities, and the mailing service we know and trust today took off. Thirty-eight years later, Smith has received dozens of honors, including 2006 Person of the Year by the French-American Chamber of Commerce and CHIEF EXECUTIVE magazine’s 2004 “CEO of the Year.”, and, as of March 2011, he has an estimated net worth of about $2.1 billion.

College, as we have discussed earlier in light of Alex Chediak’s helpful book, need not be a period of life characterized by laziness, boredom, time-wasting, and anemia of the spirit.  There are few environments more potentially stimulating than a college, which is after all little more than one big salon (in the Enlightenment sense, not the hair-styling sense) where big ideas are discussed, creativity can flourish, and connections to other bright minds abound.

As a college professor, I’m excited by the testimonies provided by this HuffPo slideshow.  Boyce College students, what do you think–how can you unleash your sense of gospel entrepreneurship, of working creatively and ambitiously for God’s glory?  Missions, music, preaching, literature, theology–how can you plug in and make the most of your time in college?

(Image: Time.com)

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