Commercial and bureaucratic hindrances collided with an uncontrollable reality: the faith of many players.
The Forum of Young Christian Entrepreneurs gathered 500 people in its second edition. Mgliwè Simdinatome leads a movement to equip young Christians as they start their first business projects.
More than 500 young people in business gathered in Lomé (Togo) for the second Forum of Young Christian Entrepreneurs.
Between April 26 and 29, the pioneer faith and work platform focused on the theme: “Biblical entrepreneurship, engine of transformation of nations”.
After bringing together 300 people in its first edition in 2017, Pastor Mgliwè Simdinatome explained the vision of the project was to continue “to provide a framework for debate, education, training, equipment and inspiration on the urgency of entrepreneurship”.
The team behind FOJEC openly shared this vision in a press conference in February. Simadinatome explained that he is convinced that “Biblical values and principles can boost the entrepreneurial effort and help transform our nation”. These Christian values “are capable of producing lasting transformation”.
This year’s priorities were to strengthen a Christian Fund for Entrepreneurship and Development, to “promote the 100 best projects, those that stand out”, and to expand a Christian Entrepreneurs Movement of Togo (MECT) built on “a mentor-coach community to support young entrepreneurs”.
Simdinatome told Evangelical Focus that although FOJEC is a “Christian program”, it is “open to everybody who is interested”. As a result, several Muslims and other non-Christians attende this year’s conference.
The wider impact in society of this church-society initiative can also be seen in the media presence the platform has had in the last weeks. “We worked with about 10 different media outlets, including our national television TVT – only two of these media were Christian”.
A FAIR TO INSPIRE NEW BUSINESS INITIATIVES
One of the novelties of this year was a Fair Expo to “inspire entrepreneurs” with good practices. About 30 expositors presented their products, “ten of them were those we helped to finance in last year's edition”, the pastor explains. “We have agribusiness products, services, food items, logistics, and renewable energy and water projects”.
Beyond the conference, the idea is to build a year-round movement with a program to walk with young business people. “For this program to have impact and to be sustainable, we have set up a strategic follow-up system to help build entrepreneurs throughout the year”, and incubator called Nehemiah Entrepreneurship Center.
“This mission centre manages the movement of Christian Entrepreneurs of Togo. All the participants to the conference were asked to register and to be members of the movement to benefit from its programs”.
“I just want to thank God for His blessings upon this powerful program”, says Simdinatome as he evaluates this year’s gathering. “Next year, we will be 1,000 participants”.