Welcome to Transforming Business!

Transforming Business is an innovative research and development project birthed at the University of Cambridge. Although UK-based, it is international in scope.

Virtuous Business

Transforming Business analyzes and catalyzes the contribution of Christianity and entrepreneurship to human and environmental well-being.

We are interested in practical solutions Ė 'what works?'

In finding answers to this question, we pay particular attention to the role of faith and virtue in building social capital Ė the institutional, relational, moral and spiritual aspects of society.

Social scientists increasingly agree that social capital is fundamental to business success, economic development and well-being, and that religion is one of its key contributors.

Through innovative research and instruction, we seek to respond positively to the rising concern about global poverty and social disintegration. But in doing so we wish to channel it in fresh directions that will deliver tangible improvement and genuine opportunities for people in poverty, based on a biblical, holistic approach to what it means to be human.

We use robust, creative, and multi-disciplinary thinking, along with practical models and case studies, to discover and disseminate the most effective means by which faith and virtue integrate with enterprise to provide sustainable well-being. In this effort, we take special interest in enterprise solutions to poverty and social exclusion.

The project is one of many spin-outs from the University of Cambridge over recent years. This University has an international reputation for excellence and for nurturing world-leading entrepreneurial projects that eventually become self-standing. Founded in 2004 within the University, Transforming Business became fully incorporated and self-supporting in 2017. While it remains based in Cambridge, the project is global in its research and outreach.

The aims of the project are summarized in the adjacent column.

Transforming Business has given birth to several daughter projects, including the following.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative

This initiative (shortened to ELI) was based at the University of Oxford from 2012-2015. It has generated a lot of fresh thinking about the practical integration of three key elements that are often neglected: worldview, wisdom and wellbeing. The initiative worked particularly closely with academics at the Universityís SaÔd Business School. One particularly fruitful outcome of this cooperation has been the development of the mutuality model of business in collaboration with the Mars Corporation, and its associated Responsible Business Forum.

Other aspects of ELIís thinking have been distilled in a chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics, published by Oxford University Press, written by ELIís Director Dr Peter Heslam; and in the forthcoming book Redeeming Capitalism by ELIís Associate Director Dr Kenneth Barnes.

ELI has also helped give birth to three further projects that involve senior leaders in business:

  • The Boaz Project. This project was launched in association with the Acton Institute and Calvin College in Michigan, USA. It focuses on the worldview and activity of a large and growing sample of senior business leaders in North America and builds on our Belief in Enterprise project (see below).
  • The Oxford and Cambridge Symposium on Enterprise, Ethics and Development. As its acronym SEED indicates, this symposium aims to seed new thinking and action at the intersection of enterprise, ethics and development. The most recent SEED was held in 2017 and was entitled Enterprise for Flourishing (programme here).
  • The Entrepreneurial Leaders Programme, held in association with Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford (details here). This programme is directed by the Canadian academic and entrepreneur Dr Richard Goossen. Formerly Transforming Businessí Director of Entrepreneurial Leadership, his business research was foundational for Transforming Business in its early stages.

Faith and Markets

Soon after the successful completion of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative at the University of Oxford, Transforming Business co-founded Faith and Markets, a multi-disciplinary research and development project at the University of Cambridge. Further details are available here.

Business and Economics

Together with the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, Transforming Business has founded the Business and Economics doctoral award. The aim is to nurture emerging Christian business thinkers. Current holders of the award are Peter Hinton, Mark Sampson and Kevin Hargaden.

Belief in Enterprise

In 2012, Transforming Business teamed up with the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, to launch Belief in Enterprise. This exciting research and outreach initiative continues to flourish and expand, especially in North America. Click here to find out more.

Support Transforming Business

Join us in understanding and fostering virtuous enterprise for the common good!

Transforming Business is entirely dependent on individual donations, which attract tax benefits.

For more information on the project, visit the About section.

 

Video Clip

Transforming Business has taken part in an international initiative called Poverty Cure. A major TV documentary has been produced by Poverty Cure that contains an interview with Transforming Business' Peter Heslam. A two-minute clip is available here.

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Our Aims

From a Christian perspective, the project aims to examine and disseminate:

  • the role of faith and virtue in responsible enterprise;
  • the factors that stimulate 'the spirit of enterprise';
  • the contribution of faith-based social capital to transformative business;
  • ethical frameworks that promote good business;
  • case studies and practical models that inform, motivate and multiply poverty-reducing and society-enhancing enterprise.

Recent Publication

Against the background of the global economic crisis of recent years, Peter Heslam engages with the pitfalls and potential of contemporary business in Transforming Capitalism: Entrepreneurship and the Renewal of Thrift. With only 32 pages, it's designed for busy people.