WPC Business

There was so much in the paper this morning. I am so confused on what I should write about. There is the continued IRS attack on conservatives, there is the definition of what conservative means. There is the Obamacare issue, or “Obama’s False History of Public Investment.” Now, Chelsea Clinton is thinking about running for a political office, and on and on it goes. Phew!

One thing that did catch my eye though was how a government will try to worm its way in on a good thing. In the article “Microlending Pioneer Faces Takeover,” Grameen Bank is under attack from the Bangladesh government. The government plans to increase its stake in the bank to “51% from its current 25%, diluting existing shareholders and giving it control of the lender.”

Grameen Bank is a shareholder controlled microlender that has helped many people start small businesses. There are 8.4 million shareholders associated with the bank started by Muhammad Yunus. “Grameen has drawn accolades for bringing credit to millions of rural customers and showing that micro-credit programs – which offer small loans to poor borrowers – can work at a large scale.” KIVA is another organization that provides the same service.

Yunus was pushed out of his Social Business endeavor because the government felt he was enriching himself and his family through nonlending businesses associated with Grameen. Yunus create partnerships with Telenor, Dannon, and others to bring services to the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid. Yunus, as well as Prahalad, saw the value of viewing the poor collectively as a market, and getting these large corporations to see the value of this endeavor, thus resulting in better services for the poor.

Whether the Bangladesh government intends to bleed a successful social business dry or not will be interesting to see. But the fact is Yunus proved that Social Business is good for community development. I saw this reality at Church on Sunday.

Our middle school kids experienced something called “The Plunge” over the last week. They experienced what it means to be homeless, and subsequently had an opportunity to serve people that, for whatever reason, were living on the streets in Portland. They also had an opportunity to see first hand Heritage Farm and the Clark County Food Bank in Vancouver, WA. These young people shared how these events changed their lives.  I saw three things that I think are critical: Faith, Skill, and care.

All Sunday morning as my wife, grand daughter and I had been driving around and having breakfast I thought about how these critical elements could be implemented into our business program at Warner Pacific College.

Over the last year I have been thinking about what it means to teach Business at our school. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I recognize that why I do something is as important as how I do it. The purpose for why we teach business is clear. It is to prepare our students to serve and make a difference in society. Faith that leads to service is a foundation of why we teach business.

However, if our program does not provide the appropriate skills, or acumen, then we are not properly serving our students. Thus, whatever business topics we teach they must be technically strong.

Lastly, our program must be different than Portland State. This means that in the city and for the city must be a critical component of our program. What partnerships with businesses can we develop, what mentoring opportunities can be initiate, and what advantages can we provide for our students to make the difference they so clearly want? In other words, how do we create opportunities for our students so they in turn can affect the city in positive ways?

Over the next year I hope we can accomplish these things, and if we do we will flourish as a program. I think Muhammad Yunus would be proud of us.

And that is my thought for the day!


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