Our friends at Sinapis are doing beautiful work through raising up and empowering Kingdom-minded entrepreneurs in poor countries around the world. We are big believers that business is vital part of God’s Kingdom work, both here at home and to the ends of the earth.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to see this through the lens of Western materialism, but here’s a story from East Africa that shows us a beautiful example of the redemptive role of the marketplace. Profitable businesses dedicated to God are transforming lives all over the world. Peter’s heartwarming story that will show you just that:
One of our Sinapis program alumni in Nairobi, Kenya is an entrepreneurial couple named Grace and Greg. They went through our training program followed by our six-month accelerator. This biblical instruction illuminates how business can be used as a tool for blessing people and changing communities.
When we asked them about the biggest impact that the Sinapis “Kingdom Business Training” made in their life, they shared the following story of an employee named Peter:
Peter was about 22 years old when he joined their team. He moved to Nairobi from Western Kenya, so had grown up in a rural village. His parents sent him to Nairobi with hopes that Peter would be able to find employment and a life, because there was essentially nothing for him in the village.
Stop and think about that as a parent. I’ve got three kids. What would it be like to send one of my children to another city with almost no resources and no connections, with no ability to help shelter and shape that experience, with only a prayer: “Lord, please provide for him and let him make a life.”
So Peter arrives in Nairobi and he’s bouncing around from odd job to odd job. People are taking advantage of him and not paying him. That’s when he providentially connected with Grace and Greg. They run a startup company called Cakes.co.ke, the first bakery in Kenya to offer online ordering. Grace and Greg have IT backgrounds, but they also have a passion for running this small business.
After going through the Sinapis training, Grace and Greg initiated some unusual policies for an East African startup. Cakes.co.ke offers free breakfast and lunch for all their employees because many don’t have enough food at home. They also committed to pay their employees first, a normal business practice in the United States, but not necessarily a given in all parts of the world. Many business owners take their salary first and distribute whatever is leftover to their staff. But Grace and Greg were different.
Peter initially hired on as a cleaner and as a delivery guy. He didn’t have a lot of education and this was a relatively low paying job, but it afforded him dignity. He was a hard worker and did a great job as a member of the team. He didn’t say much, kept his head down and did faithful, quality work. That got the attention of his leaders. So one day, Grace walks into the bakery and Peter pulls her aside for a private conversation. This was totally out of the ordinary for Peter, but Grace gladly complied.
“Because of this job and because of the things you’ve done to provide for me,” he said, “I have some big news to share.”
It was big news indeed. In just nine months, Peter had saved enough money to build his parents back in the village a new home. This is a guy that was living near the poverty line, who found gainful employment with people who cared about him as a person, provided some really good voluntary fringe benefits, and his mindset was, “I’m going to pay this forward and build my parents a home that doesn’t leak.”
Peter asked Grace and Greg if they would join him on a trip back to the village to see what they had done. They took the whole staff! The journey was a couple of hundred kilometers, but Greg’s encounter was worth all the effort. “I’ll never forget the look in his father’s eyes as he thanked us for the role that we played in leading a business with integrity, caring about their son, and helping him find a life.”
As a fun follow-up to this story, Peter is not a cleaner any longer. He got promoted to the bakery team. He has a career path in front of him, all because of a profitable business dedicated to God creating jobs in East Africa.
This is just one simple story. It’s not a “blow your mind business” that changes everything. Cakes.co.ke has just 16 employees. But because it’s profitable, because it’s led by people who love God, they’re making a huge difference in the lives of people.
BONUS: If you’re interested in hearing Peter’s Story directly from Grace and Greg and seeing Peter and his parents’ new house for yourself, click here.