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Bpeace: More Jobs Means Less Violence

Bpeace connects established entrepreneurs in economically challenged communities with the business advice they need to grow and create jobs.

Photo of Melinda Kerins
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Bpeace believes the path to peace is lined with jobs -- a job that nourishes a family, sends children to school, and cuts the oxygen to gang, terrorist and other violence of neighbor against neighbor.

Small and medium sized businesses beyond the start-up phase are in the best position to create these jobs. For 10+ years Bpeace has been a well-kept secret as it methodically helps entrepreneurs in Afghanistan, Guatemala and El Salvador scale and create employment for their communities. In the wake of conflict, we are helping these fast running entrepreneurs run quicker and bolder. In 2017, the 100+ businesses in the Bpeace portfolio averaged 27% job growth, employed nearly 3,500 Afghans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans--59% of them women.

And we can do more. A lot more.

We seek invitations into 1,000 communities where 1,000 new jobs can be a game changer by providing people with meaningful work and a renewed sense of worth. In each community the Bpeace Fast Runner entrepreneurs become role models and strong voices for peace. The employment they generate sparks a multiplier effect that sustains thousands of families, boosts local purchasing power, which in turn lifts other businesses, creates even more employment, and accelerates the community up the path to prosperity and peace.

Applying the theory that jobs reduce poverty and desperation, which can lead to violence and unrest, Bpeace has woven together a network of experienced professionals. Working with our Fast Runner cohorts, vetted for scalability and success, these professionals -- our "Skillanthropists" -- provide pro bono mentoring across all functional business areas, sharing their expertise and insights, and offering guidance geared to foster expansion.

One million jobs across 1,000 communities is our strategy to reduce violence and replace it with peace. Each job, entrepreneur, and community is a beacon of that hope—and a catalyst to stability and prosperity.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are not just the Fast Runner entrepreneurs or their businesses. Because we believe that more jobs means less violence, the ripple effect of increased prosperity for our entrepreneurs means that their employees are more stable -- and there can be more of them. With more jobs, more citizens in the communities and countries we touch are less burdened by poverty and strife. And with less poverty and the desperation that comes from it, violence decreases.

As our Fast Runners "graduate" from the project phase, they become a part of Bpeace in a new way: they engage more, sharing their experiences and the impact of hard work and a helping hand. And our Skillanthropists move forward too, changed, energized, and determined to do more. This collaborative structure furthers the ripple effect as a tangible example of an international community of partners and colleagues.

With Bpeace, barriers are broken between what could be and what has become, between peace and prosperity.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Bpeace is set apart by three unique differentiators: strategy, momentum and scalability.

From its beginning, Bpeace has been strategic in all things -- from structure to tactics, committed to stretching its capabilities while not exceeding its bandwidth. Our servant-leader CEO has an inspiring and firm hand on the tiller, and our Board, Executive Council, and cadre of volunteer teams are active, engaged, and meet virtually on a regular basis. This engagement, coupled with transparent communication and storytelling, are the keys to our momentum. When we hear the stories and see the data, we all want to keep it going and position ourselves for more. We want to refine our processes, add depth to our bench of professionals, reach more companies and communities dealing with the strain of their environments. We want to utilize lessons learned to be efficient and effective. We want to take the concept that it just takes one person acting, one job offered, one family supported to the world.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Bpeace believes that the path to peace is lined with jobs -- and is committed to creating 1 million jobs across 1,000 communities.

https://www.bpeace.org

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

After the events of 9/11, our co-founder, Toni Maloney, was invited to a conference in Geneva at the United Nations. There, she and other businesswomen attending envisioned that business should play a role in building bridges to peace. With that intention, Bpeace -- the Business Council for Peace -- was launched and within 90 days, 60 other businesswomen had joined the coalition.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Bpeace's reason for being is to focus on creating jobs -- which we see as the answer to almost everything. When jobs are created, income is earned. When income is earned, people can afford food, education, healthcare. When people are nourished, engaged, and healthy, there is hope for a better future. And bringing hope for a better future means less violence in conflict affected communities and countries -- which is better for all of us.

Bpeace began its work in Afghanistan, Rwanda and El Salvador. We then expanded our services into Guatemala, and are now working with female, college-aged Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Bpeace goes where it is needed -- and where it can fulfill its mission of "more jobs means less violence."

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Partnership is the driving force behind Bpeace. We partner with companies and individuals who make up our network of Skillanthropists -- our skill-based volunteers. We partner with the companies and individuals who make up our cohorts of Fast Runners. We partner with local and national governments who provide outreach and encouragement for our projects. We partner with individuals, companies, foundations and grant-makings organizations who fund and support our mission.

Since its founding in 2002, Bpeace has worked alongside these partners to provide over $10 million dollars in pro bono consulting for businesses in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Rwanda. With this ROI -- which we call Return on Involvement, over 200 local businesses have been strengthened benefiting over 20,000 family members of employees.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Our greatest strength is action. Bpeace has motivated teams of staff and skill-based volunteers working on the ground in-country, mentoring virtually, and connecting dots and doing the leg-work to create and revise our strategy behind the scenes. Our desire -- to see success in business, to serve families, to better communities, to increase prosperity, to create peace -- is all based in action, and in the belief that reducing conflict within a company reduces conflict outside it.

Geographic Focus

Africa, Central America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia & the US

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Immediate implementation: Bpeace is ready to extend its reach. Our processes are in place and our bench of Skillanthropists is always growing. We have conversations going with entrepreneurs waiting for our help and potential in-country partners in both Central and South America, and in cities experiencing conflict here in the United States.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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Photo of Kellie Magnus
Team

Very interesting project, Melinda. Please let us know if you have any plans to be in Jamaica. Are you active in Brazil or South Africa? I'm also curious about whether you work with partners to ensure that the social or psycho-social support needs of the entrepreneurs are met.

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