An unlikely counter-insurgency force has infiltrated some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. Bpeace (Business Council for Peace) is fighting the destabilizing effects of chronic poverty and violence by arming local entrepreneurs with the tools they need to boost productivity and profitability.
Mobilizing experienced business professionals to mentor and support small businesses in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Guatemala and Rwanda, Bpeace helps entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level, generating new jobs and increased economic stability for individuals, families and entire communities.
A different kind of bottom line
For the volunteer consultants of Bpeace, success is measured not in terms of money, but in terms of job creation. The dignity and security of a living wage – that’s the Bpeace bottom line.
Participating Bpeace businesses, selected after a rigorous vetting process, are known as “Fast Runners” because they tend to make startlingly quick progress right out of the gate. Established companies rather than start-ups, these enterprises have already proven their mettle; what they need next is expert help to maximize their potential.
This is where Bpeace volunteers step in, as pro bono consultants in industries ranging from cosmetology to technology. Through long-distance advising and/or in-country visits, volunteers share their expertise in finance, marketing, production, human resources and customer service. Bpeace also arranges for entrepreneurs to spend time at U.S. host companies, learning the ropes and building valuable networks.
Among businesses that have been in the Bpeace program for more than a year, the average revenue growth is 37%, and the average job growth is 34%. That’s well above the average GDP growth in their countries. But those numbers, impressive though they are, only tell a small part of the story.
A special kind of courage
All entrepreneurs are risk-takers, but Bpeace entrepreneurs take it to another level entirely. Working in areas where violence is endemic, these intrepid individuals encounter obstacles unimaginable to conventional businesspeople. The fact that their businesses exist at all – against extraordinary odds – is testament to their courage and resiliency.
There’s the publisher of pre-K educational materials in an area rife with gang activity, working with Bpeace to extend the reach of her innovative products to underserved rural areas in Guatemala; the salon owner in Afghanistan who has leveraged Bpeace technical help and management training to expand her women-only business from 9 employees to 60 in a few short years; the Salvadoran CEO of a small spice business who, despite death threats and violent extortion, has worked tirelessly with Bpeace to restructure bank loans, develop new products, improve product packaging and build new relationships with U.S. importers.
These and countless other entrepreneurs, many of them women, are risking everything to elevate themselves, their employees and their communities through economic empowerment.
A unique way to help
Bpeace has taken aim at the root cause of much of the suffering in conflict zones – a relentless, self-perpetuating cycle of poverty, desperation and violence. By helping local businesses to thrive, Bpeace volunteers are helping communities shattered by violence establish peaceful new patterns rooted in stability and shared prosperity.
Wielding the unconventional weapons of business to create new opportunities for self-sufficiency and new pathways toward a more hopeful future for threatened populations, Bpeace is engaged in a long-term mission to prove that jobs can be more powerful than guns.
At Legistics, we believe that collaboration can change the world. To find out more about how our experienced support teams can help you achieve your loftiest goals, visit our home page. To find our more about how you can help Bpeace promote peace through prosperity, visit bpeace.org