Put simply, classic business and entrepreneurship have one main focus: profit. But, as Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus says, “Human beings are much bigger than just making money.” Social business and social entrepreneurship are quite different, in that they either seek to help certain people or solve a certain problem as the primary goal. Then they work backward from there, and see if there is any profit-generating production or service that can help those people or solve those problems. Yunus calls this “business based on selflessness,” and it is taking the economic and philanthropic world by storm. This Forbes article defines it this way: “social entrepreneurs have created organizations that are neither businesses nor charities, but rather hybrid entities that generate revenue in pursuit of social goals.” We are joining in this global experiment to step away from classic charity with a donor-recipient relationship, and instead turning to an empowering partnership with the poor to help them permanently rise out of poverty.
We chose a specific people group--poor Mozambican widows--and brainstormed: rather than having them rely on charity and handouts, what could they do for themselves to support their families and transform their living conditions? We settled on sewing as the first venture to try, and we plan to start cooking lessons later on.
We call this branch of Equip Mozambique “Restoring Hope Ministries”, because poverty is more than just a lack of physical livelihood, it is a lack of meaning, dignity, and hope. We aim to restore all three, while at the same time equipping the poor to meet their physical needs on their own.
The results have been phenomenal. With their newfound skills, these women are now able to afford food, school materials for their children, home improvements, and medical care. And their business has been so successful that they have constant back-orders of things to create. You can read our complete business and education plan for Restoring Hope here.