This morning all five teams presented their business plans to the panel of three judges, made up of Iris, Videre’s Director of Operations, and two entrepreneurs who graduated from Videre’s business training program, have received and repaid their loan and are currently operating successful and growing businesses that are committed to sharing Jesus with their customers. Each team had 20 minutes to pitch their business idea and loan proposal to the judges and the judges would follow up with questions about their business plan. Think the TV show Shark Tank, Ghanaian style. The judges deliberated over our lunch break and came back in with a verdict. They explained that the winning group won because it was a unique business idea, profitable, and provided a great avenue for sharing Jesus with their customers. And the winner was… our group! Each team members, as well as our translator, received a bottle of oil, a truly prized possession! Before class ended, everyone received and reviewed their homework sheet as the translator read and explained each question. All of the questions on the sheet are questions that we discussed during class and included in our mock business plan. Before phase II starts, I will go around and collect each participant’s homework. If they have completed their homework with accurate information, we will invite them back for phase II. As coaches for our groups, we were all very proud as we watched our teams applying and explaining the concepts they learned over the last three days. Although most people in the program are unable to read or write, they are very smart! The way they brainstormed and the ideas that came up with were very creative. I know that many of them will expand the Kingdom of God as they grow and expand their own businesses. I can’t wait to see where they are, both personally and professionally, one and two years from now!
After class ended, we packed up and headed for a village called Sakpei, about 1 ½ hours from Yendi. We got settled in and ate dinner, and at 9pm, half of us drove to a nearby village to preach and encourage the Christians there. We arrived at the church, a canopy near the road made out of sticks and covered with hay. We sat under the canopy and waited for the church members to gather with us. There is no electricity in the village, which means no street/dirt road lights, so we sat in the darkness of the night and listened to the bullfrogs sing. It was incredible! I mean, I’ve heard bullfrogs before and never thought it was anything spectacular, but it seriously sounded like a bullfrog choir, with many different tones and pitches. As we sat and listened, we began to see small white lights appearing in the distance. One would appear and then another would light up. Although the light was small in comparison to the darkness of the night, our eyes were drawn to it and we were intrigued by it. We realized as the light got closer, that it was the flashlights of the Christians coming out to gather with us. It was a great illustration of the light of Christ within us shining brightly in a world full of darkness. I pray that one day the lights of the people in the village will overpower the darkness, as we long for the day when there will be no more darkness. Joel shared from Genesis 1, 3 and Romans. It was a great encouragement to all who were gathered. We acknowledged that although our lives were so different, we were united and the same in Christ. How sweet it was to worship with, encourage one another and praise our Father with our brothers and sisters.
Three of the women in my group eating breakfast before class starts for the day.
Adam and Dela, with help from some other team members, demonstrating the need for high quality chairs and presenting the rest of their business case like champs.
Emmanuel, a past program participant, announcing the winning team
Our team with their prizes (from left to right): Rebecca, our incredible translator Salumi, me, Theresa, Dela, Rose, Adam and Eunice. Sara had to leave right after class to head back to Tamale. The second picture is most of the entrepreneurs and the business coaches.