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Business as a Force for Shalom in our Community

Even if you are not well-versed in the Hebrew language, you have likely heard the word “shalom.” Perhaps you associate it with the idea of peace or as a salutation used to say goodbye when leaving a gathering with friends. While these are all true interpretations, there is a beautiful, deeper meaning associated with the concept of shalom. 

“Shalom is restoring things to the way God intended them to be in people, for people, and between people”, says Perry Yoder. Shalom leads to humans flourishing in their spiritual, economic, emotional, educational, and relational lives.

At the Center for Community Transformation, we believe entrepreneurship can serve as a powerful force for shalom. “Business is an incredible tool for shalom in our world,” says Bryan Feil, CCT’s Associate Director. Continue reading to learn how businesses are bringing flourishing to our Central Valley and beyond!

Business Can Solve Community Problems

Creating solutions through business to solve problems for those in need brings shalom. Businesses can be powerful conduits of economic, social, or environmental change. These types of businesses are called social enterprises.

“We spend so much of our time working… we might as well create businesses that make a difference!” says Bryan. Here are three businesses CCT has worked with who are doing just that. ↓

Cornerstone Coffee provides jobs for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, allowing them to build their resumes and become self-sustaining when they graduate from the recovery program.

RockPile Landscaping provides work opportunities for men struggling with barriers to employment and delivers water-wise landscaping services to combat drought.

Tagua Fair Trade sells beautiful artisan goods to provide a fair wage for those who might otherwise live in poverty.

Cornerstone Coffee
RockPile Landscaping
Tagua Fair Trade
Business Can Bring Humans Dignity 

“[Restoration is taking place] when businesses are providing paychecks to those in our neighborhoods or creating a workplace in which individuals feel known and valued,” says Bryan.

Regelio Valenzuela was experiencing barriers to employment and says his experience working for RockPile Landscaping was “the life raft” he needed.

“You can rebuild yourself. Some of us guys, we just need that,” says Regelio. “We need a place to remotivate and reset, and RockPile has given us that [by] giving [us] a place to not just be employed, but to build some skills. [Through this work, a man] is becoming more confident.

He is becoming a person who likes himself better.”

Business Drives Creativity

“Creativity is at the heart of entrepreneurship,” says Bryan. “When we are utilizing the creativity God has entrusted us [through business], we create unique opportunities for our community, families and ourselves to flourish.”

How CCT is Investing in Central Valley Businesses

Because we truly believe business can be part of bringing shalom to our community’s systems, economy, and families, CCT provides many avenues for entrepreneurs to launch or grow their businesses. We have had the privilege of mentoring over 200 businesses through our entrepreneurial programs including:

Launchpad is a 7 week business class that creates clarity for current or inspiring business owners. Launchpad is designed for entrepreneurs who have been operating for years or only have an abstract idea they need help executing.

Spark Tank programs have helped catalyze 67 start-ups with nearly $200,000 investments distributed through this process. These programs include:

  • Business Plan Workshops 
  • Social Enterprise Academy
  • Pitch Competition

Start-Up Fest is coming up on June 13, 2024! The Start-Up Fest is a small business expo for emerging businesses that are growing in the valley. This event is open to the public for interactions and connections to be made and a chance for small businesses to meet and talk to the public about their products and services. Register to be a vendor or simply attend here.

Whether you attend the upcoming Start-Up Fest, pitch your own business idea, buy products from a local business who takes great care of their employees, or donate to CCT, you are participating in furthering shalom through business in our Valley. Thank you.

Related Posts - Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, Spark Tank