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Move Over, SpaceX

Ignition! And we have the lift-off of Launch Central Valley, the new micro-enterprise start-up incubator being shepherded by the FPU Center for Community Transformation. Launch Central Valley (LCV) helps people with a dream, and sometimes with a past, learn how to start and grow a small business that can provide for their families, as well as be good for the community. Twelve wonderful people celebrated the completion of the first module this month. Eight of them have already launched their small businesses and are generating revenue.

Meet some new owners!

Kesha came to Launch CV with the hopes of getting her Coffee Shop going. COVID made things even harder. After more than a year of sinking capital and energy, she still felt she was far from starting. However, through LCV she quickly realized she was never operating with a solid core budget, requiring even more capital than she actually needed. This kept holding her back. Now, after completing LCV, she has launched her business! The Java Bar is near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Early in our Launch Central Valley course Athena was a very shy and quiet person, but she began to flourish as she continued to work on her hair care business, products specifically designed to meet the needs of African Americans.  Athena noted how much her lack of confidence prevented her from starting and advancing her business, but all that changed! At our celebration night she raved about how many breakthroughs she had experienced during the training, and can now take her proprietary products to market with all the protections needed.

Tabitha noted that her transition from employee to owner was a leap of faith coupled with her lack of self-confidence to market herself and expand her number of employees. She struggled with pricing her services as well as finding more clients. At the beginning of the course, she had only five clients. However, by the end of nine weeks, she had twenty-one clients!

These three women show the power of our new Launch Central Valley training, empowering people to provide for themselves and their families with dignity. A homegrown shalom. Nearly every new business owner shared how grateful they were to CCT staff, and gave glory to God for the progress they had made and the encouragement they felt.

Business in the Bible?

The training provided is built on the knowledge that God has always used commerce to solve social problems. In II Kings 4, a new widow is confronted by creditors who threaten to take her children because she cannot pay her debt. She comes to Elisha desperate for a solution. Elisha asks her what she owns, and it’s nearly nothing, a simple jar of oil. But Elisha knows that the woman’s assets are more than that, that they include neighbors and friends, they include her family, and they include a miracle-working God who deeply cares about her. He instructs her to borrow a lot of jars from her neighbors and start pouring oil into them. In a miracle of multiplication, there’s enough oil to fill all of them. She can now sell the oil, pay off her debts, and save her family. One scholar has mused that perhaps what Elisha has done has effectively been to set up a little cottage industry for her as the village’s oil seller, if she will just re-invest her profits.

We feel sure that if she had attended Launch Central Valley, we would have addressed that possibility! The next cohort begins January 28th. Scholarships are available covering more than 2/3 of the cost, but space is limited.  Click here for more information

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