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Sari Bari: a model freedom business in India

Friday, October 19, 2018
purse made in India

IBEC is a partner with the Freedom Business Alliance (FBA), which exists to equip and promote the global community of Freedom Businesses. A freedom business is a business that exists to fight human trafficking or commercial exploitation, and one of the founding businesses of the FBA is Sari Bari in north India.

Sari Bari was established as a single proprietorship in 2006 and became an Indian Private Limited Company in 2009. It was established to manufacture handmade products out of recycled cotton saris, while providing employment as a tool for freedom for women trapped in the sex trade, and a means of prevention for those who are vulnerable to trafficking. They now employ close to 120 women in four locations.

Their website highlights more details such as “Our mission is to offer freedom to women trapped in the sex trade, and to provide opportunity to women vulnerable to trafficking. We hope to accomplish this through employment in a safe and loving environment, where women are trained and employed as Artisans. The women create beautiful, sustainable, handmade products, while making their lives new. We invite the consumer through their purchase to journey into the freedom story of one woman."

Sarah first visited Kolkata in 1999. She began by building relationships with women working in the sex trade and learned about the unjust social structures that make women vulnerable to being trafficked.

The company opened their doors in February 2006, offering training to three courageous women ready to begin their journey toward freedom. A deep commitment to freedom and empowerment fueled Sarah’s soul over the years, and Sarah began to “dream for things she would never see”. It began to grow beyond anyone’s expectations. She continues to be a champion for hope, freedom, and empowerment – constantly reminding the community that the impossible is possible, that each life has value and that each woman can proudly provide for family through the honest labor of her hands.1

Sarah is currently the Brand and Strategic Director of Sari Bari. Her job is to offer love, creativity, vision and direction to the Sari Bari movement and community. Her experience ranges from product design, company brand development, project management, marketing, systems building, as well as administration and accounting to production management and production systems design.

In November 2017 Sarah was awarded the Stevie Award as Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, along with two other awards.2 The Stevie Awards for Women in Business is an international competition produced by the creators of the prestigious International Business Awards and American Business Awards. The Stevie is widely considered to be the world’s premier business award.

With more than 500 businesswomen and their guests in attendance, the awards were announced at a gala dinner at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Nations represented at the event include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Iceland, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, U.S.A., and the United Kingdom.

The year prior, she was awarded the 2016 Opus Prize for Faith Based Entrepreneurship, which brought significant award money and among the ways it is being spent is working with consultants to build a long-term platform for growth and sustainability. IBEC is privileged to be one of those consultants. Learn more by checking out the 2017 annual report.3

1. Melissa Desei, Sari Bari, USA board member in the 2017 annual report.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Entrepreneurs wanted: what it looks like to become a kingdom-minded entrepreneur overseas

Friday, October 12, 2018
worldwide entrepreneurs

A new book by Jeannie Marie entitled, "Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood…and Beyond" will be of interest to many of our readers. She has written a blog specifically for IBEC Ventures which helps the reader understand the need for entrepreneurs and business owners and how that could work.

We may be surprised that God wants to use all of our education, experience, and creative business background to start kingdom business that bless families in the farthest ends of the earth. But sometimes it’s hard to see what that actually looks like, what kinds of start-ups work well in the developing world, and what success means.

How One Entrepreneur Moved Overseas

Here’s how it looked for Doug, a banker from Canada turned entrepreneur in the unreached world. The government of a country, like Indonesia, can grant business visas to legitimate businesspeople from a foreign country, like Canada. Pursuing God’s heart for the nations, Doug began to pray for the Sunda people group in Indonesia. Doug connected with an organization with experience in living abroad and sharing their lives with others - in preparation for starting his company and living in the country. As he prepared to live overseas, he started his own financial consulting company in Canada and incorporated as a business.

On a short-term survey trip to the island of Java, he met with a family from his agency living there, and they invited him to join them for a longer time. A believing Indonesian businessman he connected with agreed to write a letter of invitation for Doug to start a business in Indonesia, assuring the Indonesian consulate that he would take responsibility for this foreigner.

Doug also wrote a letter to the Indonesian consulate, asking for permission to open a branch of his Canadian business in Indonesia. He filled out an application for a business visa, included the inviting letter and the sending letter, and mailed them to the consulate. A month later, he received his passport, stamped with a business visa that allowed him to be in the country for a set length of time.

He raised financial support from family, friends, and businesses— including business start-up costs. Doug's vision was to live like Jesus in the marketplace and on the job and seek to help others to follow Jesus. Right away, Doug joined an intensive, full-time language program while researching options on the kind of businesses that could bless Sunda families.

What Kinds of Businesses Work Well Overseas?

Service-based businesses, such as language centers, tourism agencies, or education centers, work well in foreign countries. A business could distribute a product made in the country or provide training in a needed job skill. Service-based businesses, (run by field workers trying to bless communities with the gospel), strive to be profitable enough to pay for operating expenses and salaries for local employees.

Other field workers try to start manufacturing companies, although it takes expertise and more financial capital to make them profitable. Oliver runs a profitable company that designs and manufactures products used in disaster situations. His company builds the product in-country using local resources and labor, but several field workers with degrees in engineering also work for the company. They sell to local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), so the product comes from the local population (and not a foreign entity) during relief situations, such as recovery efforts following flooding, typhoons, or earthquakes.

Having done business in the city for years, Oliver has built an honorable reputation for operating his company with integrity. He sells high-quality products at fair prices with exemplary customer service. His business also creates jobs and provides employees with enough income to support dozens of families. The city leaders recognize him as a man who contributes to their community, worships the one true God, and follows the ways of Jesus. They know he operates his business on biblical principles, never offering bribes, which are customary in the culture. His friends and employees come to him for prayer, conflict management, and advice, and he shares about Jesus in practical ways relevant to their everyday lives.

A New Definition of Entrepreneurial Success?

William is a former business consultant for Fortune 500 companies in America. Today, he helps field workers start businesses compatible with disciple-making movement strategies. “Businesses that lead to movements should have low operating costs, be service-based, and create access to many people in order to find people of peace,” William advises. “They should bless whole families and communities, and also allow time for the owner to engage in relationships.”

William coaches field workers to apply the traditional advice for doing solid business overseas: start a business that makes sense to the local population, plan to be profitable, and make your identity credible and valid in order to gain honor in the city. William also encourages business owners to be spiritually conspicuous from the beginning, making it known that they are followers of God and will run their businesses in ways that are pleasing and honorable to him.

Be encouraged that you can succeed in business and spiritual goals if you show humility in whatever you do and wherever you go, an eagerness to learn from others, and a strong work ethic.

This article was adapted from the newly released book "Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood…and Beyond" by Jeannie Marie. She is a strategist for an international agency that recruits, trains, and sends people to live overseas.

In her new book, "Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood...and Beyond", Jeannie inspires ordinary people to cross cultures with courage, confidence, compassion, and spiritual intentionality. Using personal stories and plenty of inspiration, she gently guides us away from common missteps, while offering practical tips, resources, and spiritual lessons for engaging in cross-cultural relationships with love and purpose.

[Our humble thanks to Nelson Books for their partnership in today’s article].

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Random list of important ideas before traveling to a high-risk area

Friday, October 05, 2018
blank checklist with marker

This is the third blog in a series on international safety.

Myriads of books and thousands of articles have been written with tips for traveling and living abroad. A few blogs here on this subject will only scratch the surface. But the following will hopefully whet the readers appetite so that he or she will read and study more deeply before traveling to countries outside North America, particularly in the global south, Middle East and Asia.

Did you know?
To avoid becoming a victim by attack while traveling
1. Avoid routines by varying the times you leave your residence and vary the routes. Avoid choke points. I did security training in Haiti once and discovered that several expats were living in an area of the city on the hillside with only one road down to the city – not good!
2. Maintain a low profile. Dress like others, avoiding flashy and extravagant jewelry or culturally offensive items. An employee of mine was jogging with her walkman in a middle east country. She was jumped by two guys who fortunately did not have sexual assault in mind – they just wanted her electronics.
3. Harden yourself as a target using an alarm, whistle and some defensive item. I remember walking around Bogota, Colombia when it was called “the pickpocket capital of the world” carrying my long umbrella with its point easily visible.
4. Walk defensively; be aware of people around you and walk with confidence. Do not look at maps in public places. Rio de Janeiro has a reputation for thieves on the outlook for people who are obviously tourists as they look at their maps.
5. Women should walk with their purse in front of them with their hand on their bag. Men, keep your wallet so you can feel it and minimize what is in the wallet. Keep a record elsewhere of all documents in your wallet or bag.
6. Only use nondescript luggage with no “frequent flyer” indicators and keep name tags covered. I regularly see obvious name tags in airports with designations indicating the person is important – director, professor, scientist, manager – all of which are signals which attract thieves.
7. You pick the taxi driver; don’t let the driver pick you. Use licensed, reputable taxis only. Even Philadelphia in the USA has signs at the airport warning about bad taxi drivers.
8. Only fly on IATA ranked airlines. I used to remind our employees never to fly on many small airlines in Africa or Central Asia. Many have bad safety records.
9. If using an ATM, make sure the area is well-lit and count your money in a safe locked place.
10. Always walk with two or more companions and seek advice for areas to avoid.

In hotels, driving and airports:
11. Use recommended hotels which are not known for security or other issues. I once stayed at a hotel in Latin America which had one floor only and all the rooms had windows barred for security. But it was 212 steps from my room to the nearest door – a nightmare in the case of fire.
12. Floors 3-6 are the safest; know where the fire escape is. Fire emergency vehicles in the developing world may not be able to reach floors 7 and above. The two lowest floors are where most robberies take place.
13. Avoid rooms adjacent to stairways, elevators and exits.
14. Keep room access windows locked at all times.
15. Never leave the key on the counter at the front desk. Give directly to the clerk or keep it yourself.
16. Never use the “please make up the room” door hanger. Use “Do not disturb” instead.
17. Always secure locks when in the room and close the curtains after darkness.
18. At airports, arrive early and move directly to secure areas, away from the counters. Terrorist activity is always outside security.
19. If driving, never stop to help people signaling you for help. Call police instead.
20. If your car is bumped from behind, drive to the nearest public area and call police; blow the horn if someone suspicious approaches your vehicle.
21. Keep doors locked and windows up when driving; and have valuables out of sight.
22. Be aware of people stopping you to ask for information or directions or pretending to need assistance. I was once in a foreign airport with my wife and oldest son (a teenager at the time). I left the table in the cafeteria where the three of us were eating to check on the monitors when three men approached my wife and son asking for information. This took the attention away from the bags so that a criminal accomplice picked up a bag and quickly left the scene.

In general think about this:
23. Single women should consider wearing a wedding ring. This worked well for a woman I knew while traveling in the Balkans where men are known to bother women.
24. Women should take a course in safety for women. When my daughter was in college, she came home during a break and said, “Dad, want to see me break this 1x6 board with my hand?” I watched as she did so, having just taken a course on safety for women. She has lived safely in many high-risk countries since then.
25. Consultants traveling away from home much of the time need to consider caring for their soul and develop a strategy for precautions being alone with the opposite sex, eating a balanced diet, following guidelines for stress reduction such as exercise, and guarding against pornographic material.
26. Be sure to have your vaccinations up-to-date for the area you are traveling to. Do not drink the water unless bottled.

These thoughts are only representative of many other safety and security practices. Please read many sites or books. Some are listed here.







Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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IBEC Ventures -- Consultants for BAM/Business as Mission