Pioneer students learn about social enterprise

Church Mission Society students are in north Devon this week to learn more about missional social enterprise.

The students are all on CMS's Pioneer Mission Leadership Training Course and are at Pickwell Manor as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The Christian-run manor offers high quality holiday accommodation but is based on the principle of enterprise as mission. Its vision is to offer hospitality, whilst encouraging change in individual lives and the local community.

Students on the five-day course have each brought along a business idea to work on over the week.

The sessions provide valuable insights on how to formulate mission statements and business plans, as well as how to access funding and evaluate success.

Students will have the opportunity to meet businessmen and women who have already launched successful social enterprises.

One student in attendance, Gavin Mart, is a trustee of Link International, a charity sending teams of young people from north Wales to Uganda to work in projects ranging from schools in the slums of Kampala to a local co-operative coffee plantation and the building of a new maternity facility.

Mart works in the area of biogas, which takes naturally occurring waste and turns it into electricity. Link has used biogas digesters to bring power to remote communities. Mart hopes the biodigesters can eventually be sold commercially.

The course is being led by Jonny Baker, who said, “In order for pioneering mission to be sustainable, we must embrace the practices of social enterprise and seek to make a difference while also generating finances where appropriate."

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