Multiply Justice

Creating jobs: Far better than handouts and dependency

patient capital“Charity” — what we call “welfare” in other contexts — usually does more harm than good. The real hope for improving the lives of the poor lies not in handouts, but in job-creating entrepreneurship and business.

Warren Cole Smith writes in CT about the patient capital movement, which resists the greed principle’s demand for immediate ROI and instead focuses on a “triple bottom line” — financial, social and spiritual:

Rob Smith remembers vividly the day in 2006 when everything he believed about charity exploded. Smith led a Seattle-based Christian ministry called Agathos, which operated an orphanage in his native South Africa. One day, he saw a young man who had graduated from the Agathos program, now a young adult with a high-school education. But he was “sitting around idle, possibly drunk, I don’t know for sure,” Smith said. “He had an education, but unemployment was 70 percent. He had nothing to do, and very little hope. I came to realize that Agathos was doing some good in caring for the orphans, but it wasn’t nearly enough, and it depended on a never-ending river of money coming from elsewhere. It was not sustainable.”

That experience birthed Earthwise Ventures, a for-profit business that has so far built a 65-foot, 149-passenger ferry now operating on Lake Victoria to help re-build Uganda’s dysfunctional transportation infrastructure, a vital ingredient for economic development. Today, Earthwise employs more than 30 people in Kampala and in 2012—according to Smith—generated about $400,000 in revenue and is “on the road to profitability.” Earthwise built a second ferry at its headquarters in Everett, Wash., and that boat is in transit to Uganda.

The investment capital for Earthwise—more than $5 million so far—came mostly from Christian investors in the United States, and they’re part of a growing “patient capital” movement that seeks not only a return on investments, but also the chance to create businesses that generate jobs for people who had previously depended on handouts.

Read the full text of this fascinating article by clicking here.

Learn more about Earthwise Ventures, Aslan Global Management, and Partners Worldwide.

Have you read this? When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor …

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