Belief in Enterprise

Christian Entrepreneurs and Socio-Economic Inclusion

Belief in Enterprise is a research initiative based on two key research findings. First, the creation of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is crucial to economic development. Second, religion helps create the social capital necessary for successful enterprise.

Christianity is the world's largest religion, its adherents constituting about a third of humanity. It is rapidly growing, particularly in developing countries. Many of these countries are also undergoing rapid social and economic change that many commentators describe as an entrepreneurial revolution.

This highly entrepreneurial initiative focuses on the convergence of the rise of Christianity and the rise of entrepreneurship. It does so in order to advance understanding of how this confluence helps address the greatest moral and practical challenge of the 21st century the elimination of poverty and social exclusion.

Despite burgeoning interest in development, entrepreneurship, and religion, the nexus between these three fields is largely ignored. We believe this is to the detriment of finding people-centred, culturally-embedded and sustainable solutions to social and economic deprivation.

We take, therefore, a multi-disciplinary approach focused on the grass-roots of wealth and value creation. We explore how the faith of Christian entrepreneurs influences their sense of vocation, the way they run their companies and the social and environmental impact of their core business activities, especially when faced with risk and uncertainty. Although our initial research focused on developing and emerging economies, the more recent Boaz project has focused on North America.

Our outputs target a variety of audiences that mirror our multi-disciplinary approach and our engagement with practitioners as well as academics. In doing so, we intend to analyse and catalyse enterprise solutions to poverty and social disintegration that promote human and environmental flourishing, for the good of all.

The project's staff include the Principal Investigators Dr Eric Wood, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town, and Transforming Business' Dr Peter Heslam. During the data gathering phase, they were assisted by a Research Coordinator Dr Carol Christopher and a Research Associate Rebecca Shah, as well as a team of Case Study Researchers. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of this phase from the John Templeton Foundation.