The following principles guide our bottom up strategy:
- Entrepreneurship. Unlock the power of individuals to create and grow their business ideas into successful companies in rural and urban areas.
- Long-term Investments. Deploy patient capital that creates greater and broader economic value by supporting businesses with relatively long break-even times, as opposed to businesses that merely extract resources.
- Strategic Sectors. Invest in sectors delivering a financial return as well as broader economic and social value – agriculture, manufacturing, technology, education, power, healthcare, and finance in rural and urban areas.
- Development Dividend. Conduct investments and business activity in a manner that delivers financial returns to shareholders as well as economic and social benefit to stakeholders.
- Value-Added Growth. Leverage locally available human and financial capital, raw material and other inputs that create longer, more integrated, and higher value regional supply chains.
- Pan-African Connectivity. Facilitate pan-African commerce and trade through the development of national physical and technology infrastructure, Pan-African physical and technology infrastructure, and the harmonization of policies and practices across Africa.
- Multi-Generational Development. Focus on investments and economic growth strategies that build value for future generations.
- Humanitarianism. Unlock the power of individuals to create and grow transparent, compassion-driven humanitarian organizations in a financially sustainable manner, and tackle many of the social problems that by themselves are intractable.
- Spirituality. Unlock the spiritual vitality of people whose radical and revolutionary love will lead to reconciliation across Africa. Positive change in Africa, like everywhere else, will be generated by people who love Africa enough to make personal sacrifices in order to bring about that change. We see the best example of such sacrificial love in the life of Jesus Christ and examine it in a spirit of love that brings Christians and non-Christians to work together for the benefit of the whole community.
- Shared Purpose. Foster collaboration between businesses, investors, governments, academia, civil society, philanthropists, and development institutions to create conditions that will empower the African private sector to thrive.
- African Integration and Unity. With the understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Africans must seek civic, economic, and political unity.
This is a call-to-action for bottom-up business development that will increase economic and social wealth, and promote development in the communities and nations in which they operate. Such bottom-up businesses will become more profitable as the communities they serve begin to provide prosperous consumers, healthy and better educated employees, and imaginative entrepreneurs who go on to become suppliers and service providers.
The African development landscape is dominated by governments, extractive businesses, and donor country-driven philanthropic organizations, which mostly enforce top-down strategies. Our entrepreneurs start small businesses using bottom-up business development strategies.
The TBF humanitarian entrepreneurship approach also drives entrepreneur-led development in the following values:
- Bottom-up: Government and institution led development models are often top-down. Entrepreneurship lends itself to a bottom-up approach to economic growth and development, by focusing on empowering the individual, transforming the individual from the inside, and helping the transformed individuals to build their communities from the bottom up.
- Homegrown solutions: At the micro-enterprise and at the medium-and-small business levels, entrepreneurship empowers individuals to decide how best to improve their own economic circumstances. The cumulative effects of these micro- and medium-sized businesses are the foundation for developing macro-level African economic solutions.
- Small Business and Self-Reliance focus: African governments and big corporations cannot provide employment for the millions of young Africans entering the job market every year. Demographic trends suggest that youth unemployment in Africa will continue to grow unless significant steps are taken to increase the pace of job creation. This demographic explosion can spell an economic boom or doom for the continent. Our job creating model is designed to help bring about the BOOM and avoid the DOOM.
- Training in Global Competitiveness: African children compete with the rest of the world. Africans must learn to peacefully encourage their governments to implement policies that support entrepreneurship. Such policies enable millions of potential job creators to succeed rather than for a small number of government or private entities. The TBF system shows Africans what character traits, skills sets and product qualities are required for global competitiveness.
- Empowerment: TBF humanitarian entrepreneurs are job creators, not job seekers. Entrepreneurship means Africans no longer have to find a job or be trained to be employees. Instead, it will enable our young people to create their own jobs, become employers, and take charge of their futures, to master their circumstances, instead of being victims of their circumstances.
- Humanitarianism and Spirituality: We value a humanitarianism based on the love-based spirituality we see in the life of Jesus Christ. This love-based spirituality transcends all barriers and brings Christians and non-Christians together for the benefit of the whole community.
Phases of Our Work
Our model of humanitarian entrepreneurship empowers individual Africans, building an integrated movement (network) of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and institutions that harnesses the power of innovation, personal initiative, hard work, and market-driven ingenuity to address previously intractable economic, civic, social and cultural challenges and change our continent for good.
- Phase 1 – Develop and deploy entrepreneurs and community leaders – deployment of individuals and teams of entrepreneurs in the community
- Phase 2 – Build regional schools that provide support structures to these entrepreneurs and community leaders – training, education and mentoring of entrepreneurs.
- Phase 3 – Train community leaders and regional schools developed in Phases 1 and 2 to deal with the spiritual, political, civic, social, and cultural causes of human suffering. Support activism and policy suggestions designed to 1) light up and power Africa, 2) feed Africa, 3) industrialize Africa, 4) integrate Africa, and 5) improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
Our Goals for the Next Three Decades
In order for Africa to become financially self-sufficient within the next decade, we need to develop businesses that reach 100 million customers and generate $10 billion annually. The establishment of the Torchbearer Foundation School of Christian Social Entrepreneurship will make an important impact, producing the next generation of entrepreneurs and humanitarians who wish to live and work in Africa, create businesses and conduct humanitarian work that positively impacts the lives of others. In this way, we contribute towards this goal.