Thursday, August 18, 2011

School of Ministry Entrepreneurship Course

Ministry school graduates in Uganda – really anyone working in ministry here – are often responsible for supporting themselves financially. Occasionally an out-of-country church provides support but having that support is not a guarantee. As a result these folks must also have one or more income-generating jobs. With a 40+ percent unemployment rate, self-employment is often the only option.

Ministry school provides pastoral and ministry training, as you’d expect. The school focuses on what it does best – ministry. Graduates – both professional and lay ministers – have no way to financially support themselves and have no teaching or skills in business.

A four-week Entrepreneurship course at the School of Ministry began with about 12 students from the school and a few community members. Much like the work with TTATCC, these students began thinking about what kind of income-generating work they could begin. One person had a non-traditional work goal, which was refreshing. Others had ideas that mirrored much of what Uganda is already doing. I challenged the students to think about finding some work that isn’t commonly done here but is still needed or to differentiate their work in some way so that customers come to them instead of the mass of competition.

Homework assignments included finalizing the strategic framework we began in class and putting the first two sections of their business plans together. By the end of the course, each participant will have a fully developed business plan to help guide their decision-making efforts and to submit to possible startup investors. They’re already asking for teaching in other subjects so I look forward to the doors God will open for them as they expand their knowledge about business in Uganda.