In environments distrustful of business receiving the blessings of community leaders becomes paramount. While it is always a benefit in establishing any mission-planting to receive the blessings of key leaders, where business is viewed as suspect, sharing your vision, your intentions to bless, and the promise to treat the people of this location with dignity, respect and justice can actually be used to bring community leaders on-board quicker than in other situations. However, one of the things that these leaders will be interested in knowing is how long do you plan to stay and what will you leave (enough large corporations from nations across the world have entered local environments and after a short period of time left, leaving everything from environmental chaos to workers who are physically broken and unable to return to their previous vocations). Part of what you must share is a promise to stay within the region beyond the first difficulties. In business-averse environments the willingness to incur early-stage business losses is important if the people are to ever again welcome a business to their setting or see it beyond a launching phase. Of course there are always limitations – we are running a genuine business, not a charity – but building in plans for how long you can suffer financial losses is important, and it is important to clarify that with local leaders.
Finally, and this is true for all missionaries, but for business enterprise missionaries even more so, your lifestyle is something that will be closely watched. In much of Latin America the wealth has remained in the hands of the few for generations, and these people who own much of the commerce-generating activities, live at level far above that of their workers and consumers. While this is less-true in other-parts of the world, the general rule is that business people live in great wealth while those who are the back-bone of the wealth production suffer. Living as close to the level of the community, your workers, and consumers is essential in communicating that your for-profit enterprise is a different thing than that which they may have seen before. And so are you.
Before you can even have the chance to begin to operate, begin to incarnate the Gospel the enterprise God has called and empowered you to do, the environment where you plant your business can make or break your ability to not just be financially viable, but to incarnate more than just the gospel of western business imperialism of “greed is good.”
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