by Lawrence Brian Jenkins, M.A.
Business ownership represents freedom. Within the urban context for many youth, positive choices are often limited or non‐existent. Limited options and opportunities lead to deferred visions and unrealized potential. Entrepreneurship provides a way for youth to make choices that lead to economic stability, generational wealth, and leave a legacy for their family and community.
Entrepreneurship represents a fundamental principal in which all citizens are eligible to participate and turn a concept into a reality and quite possibly a business. Entrenuity, a not for profit Chicago based entrepreneurial training organization, fundamental beliefs are unapologetically rooted within Christian biblical teachings. These principles state that all persons are valuable regardless of their ethnicity, status, gender or other social partitions, and they deserve the best training options. Entrenuity seeks to live out the core of these teachings by training youth workers, teachers, and thusly students that moral market principles can be integrated within business behaviors. Quite simply business is beyond the bottom line. It’s not simply about reaping but also scattering to make an impact beyond the owner. While businesses started and operated by youth within.
Entrenuity’s mission is to instruct youth workers who in turn train disadvantaged youth to start and operate businesses with character based on biblical principles.
Entrenuity’s programs have enjoyed profits, within our “Creating True Wealth” curriculum, students learn that profits are the result of their effort, but are not the sole measurement of achievement. In essence, we seek to counter the persistent cultural realities that life centers simply on business owner’s needs and desires. Leading a business based on biblical values requires the owner to view themselves as a steward of the resources entrusted to them by God to not only operate an ethical business, but operate the business to positively impact their community.
Entrenuity’s mission is to instruct youth workers who in turn train disadvantaged youth to start and operate businesses with character based on biblical principles. We seek to provide economic freedom, justice, and wholeness particularly for those within local and global communities. Our commitment to Christian biblical principles serves as the basis on which we exist. One of my favorite “theologians”, the infamous blues musician from the Delta of Mississippi, Muddy Waters said, “You can’t give what you ain’t got and you can’t lose what you ain’t never had”. The wisdom of Mr. Waters statement is that we cannot teach what we do not practice.
Entrenuity seeks to provide training to youth leaders and students that moral business and personal conduct should be consistent and not in opposition to each other. We teach by serving and treating our customers as we desire to be served, viewing customers’ needs as important as our needs, and treating each person with dignity and respect will demonstrate biblical business behavior in the marketplace.
If we are to see America’s economically challenged communities such as the North Lawndale Community on Chicago’s west side or the Pine Indian Reservation in Shannon County, South Dakota revitalized by its current residents, it is essential that business ownership training is intrinsic in the most formative years; while minds can be molded and shaped with promise and possibilities. Entrepreneurial realities provide a tangible vehicle in which residents participate in their own community as vested owners, as opposed to simply being consumers.
Entrenuity’s organizational existence stems from improving the probability for the least of us to participate in two of the key principles on which our country is based on—economic freedom and opportunity for all.