B. The Idea or Dream

I have a crazy ambition to establish a Tanzanian entrepreneurial partnership between interested US citizens (perhaps from Rockland) and ambitiously aspiring Tanzanians.  Although I’ve considered education to be a preliminary springboard to self-sufficiency, education often leaves graduates wondering what to do next, in order to make their way in the world.  What to do next usually translates to trying to get a job (at someone else’s mercy), or getting drawn into family-hood, such as marriage, pregnancy (for women), or directionless wondering what to do next.  In my mind, the next step into independence could also involve entrepreneurship, or starting one’s own business.

The problem with entrepreneurship coming right out of school is that normally, no one is really trained or ready to take on that challenge.  It involves significant daring and courage, which when coupled with possible family obligations, generally poses seemingly insurmountable barriers.  Graduates are generally not trained in developing a business plan, obtaining capital, managing people and processes, and marketing one’s good ideas.  More basic than that, graduates don’t have great ideas because they’ve not been encouraged or taught to think creatively.  Rather, they’ve been taught to learn what’s been prescriptively taught to them and take tests.  Unless they’ve been raised in a family that has encouraged risk-taking, they wouldn’t think twice about starting their own business.

I see an opportunity.  As a church, Rockland has tried to help young people in Tanzania to become more independent.  We’ve sponsored girls and boys in their education.  We’ve entertained the idea of supporting someone else’s attempt to run an orphanage.  We have even contributed to established businesses, such as ALMC and Plaster House.  We’ve debated among ourselves our mission, strategy and common goals.

I believe that a more straight-forward approach to developing self-sufficiency in Tanzania might be appropriate and welcome.  It might even coordinate well with Rockland at-large.  This might be a great time to take the next (perhaps big) step.

Here is an initial outline of idea for direction.

  1. Form a Denver/Tanzanian partnership
    1. To be “for profit”
    2. Organize as a “B” corporation, whose profit motivation is married to a social betterment objective (Colorado now allows for such a corporation. An LLC may organize itself with a dual purpose, by virtue of its inherent nature.)
    3. Invite/attract potential investors to consider, participate.
    4. Business opportunity: Tanzanian Christian mission management company
      1. Arrange, plan for, host, and manage US Christian group participation in Tanzanian missions and mission visitation trips
    5. Outline of Mission/Purpose
      1. Engage talented young Tanzanians in the profit-motivated entrepreneurial endeavor(s)
        1. Earn a profit
        2. Develop Tanzanian entrepreneurs
  • Teach/model ethical behavior, character development, hard work and reward
  1. Develop Tanzanian partners
    1. Identify Tanzanian candidates using existing Tanzanian relationship resources
    2. Interview and hire, with view towards partnering (trade Tanzanian sweat equity investment and risk for US partner financial equity and risk)
  • Brainstorm with interested Tanzanians creative ideas for business
  1. Help develop a business plan
    1. Creative ideas, market potential
    2. Capital attraction, creation
    3. Functional operations
    4. Governance
    5. Financial projections
    6. Financial reporting
    7. Compliance with Tanzanian law, regulations, rules
    8. Purchase and sale of partnership interests
    9. Other
  2. Leverage Existing, and Build New, Relationships
    1. Coordinate with existing Tanzanian friends and partners
    2. Trip to Tanzania during 2017. Develop principals
    3. Consider arranging trip for Rockland congregants in 2018, sketch out ideas
  3. Some Potential Mission Business Ideas
    1. Spoofing pictures of missioners using Photoshop, or similar
    2. Talent challenges (engaging missioners in recoding, videoing, crafting, etc.)
    3. Cultural activity involvement (eating, dancing, playing, singing, game competition)
    4. Experience-chronicling, publishing
    5. Home visit opportunities (meals with Tanzanian hosts, provide hosts with fair compensation)
    6. Language trading (conduct classes in trading language bits and pieces)
    7. Sunday School lesson trading
    8. Pen pal/Skype/E-mail matching
    9. Local guiding to local attractions
    10. Local guiding to local missions (consider TAC existing missions, first)
    11. Listening – invite local pastors, others, to promote missions, ideas, motivated parishioners