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Church can 'help entrepreneurs flourish'

Church leaders need to encourage more entrepreneurs in their congregations, says the head of one of Britain's largest credit unions.

Shane Bowes, CEO of the Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU), one of the largest credit unions in the country, challenged church leaders to encourage entrepreneurship within their congregations at Solomon's Room, a special event held recently at The Royal Society in London.
 
He told the 100+ people present, "Churches are uniquely placed to play a key role in the arousal and nurturing of entrepreneurial appetite and in the creation of the conditions that favour and enable growth of business ownership."
 
Solomon's Room, was an event specially convened by the PCU to (i) give students on their Business Development Course an opportunity to make pitches for mentoring support to millionaire business owners (ii) encourage church leaders to support business enterprise and (iii) to launch PCU into the space of supporting and promoting entrepreneurship in the Pentecostal faith community.
 
Church leaders, community influencers and Christian business owners were present as Shane also advised leaders to 'educate, support, nurture and encourage' business entrepreneurship within their congregations by hosting seminars, making links with Christian business networks, preach business inspired sermons and provide spiritual support for entrepreneurs.

Bishop Wayne Malcolm

Solomon's Room was hosted by businesswoman Claudine Reid MBE, who served as teacher on the PCU Business Development Course.
 
The audience heard Pentecostal minister, Bishop Wayne Malcolm share that it's 'moral, right and spiritual' for church leaders to support entrepreneurship within their congregations. He said, "In your church you get more of what you celebrate. If you celebrate the entrepreneurs and describe their activities as noble, as moral and right you develop a culture in which entrepreneurship is normal and valued."
 
His talk was followed by pitches. Four business owners, Michael Petrie of Cloudstream, Antonia Burrell of Antonia Burrell beauty products, Reggie Cole of Buy2 Let Cars and Patrick Reid of PJs Community Services listened as the Business Development Course students Tanya Aquaah, Freddie Brown, Glynis Brewster-Nathan, Andrew and Shireen Morrison and Sascha Layne made pitches.
 

The event panel (from left) Michael Petrie
Antonia Burrell, Pat Reid, and Reggie Cole

All of the students won promises of mentoring and business development support.

Keynote speaker Businessman Levi Roots gave an inspiring talk, which was infused with humour.  He gave the audience insight into his childhood, growing up in Jamaica where he watched his grandmother create sauces in a 'Dutch Pot'. 

He also talked about travelling to England, growing up in south London, re-creating his Grandma's sauce, selling it at Notting Hill Carnival and then travelling around the UK to sell his sauce to Middle England.
 
It was a chance meeting with a BBC Producer at a World Food Fair, that led to him appearing on Dragon's Den where he won the financial support and business mentorship that he had prayed for over the years to help him take Reggae Reggae sauce across the nation. Levi Roots’ speech received a standing ovation.
 

Levi Roots

The audience heard about the PCU's plans for the forthcoming months which will see them introduce a number of financial technology initiatives designed to upscale the product offering, improving services to the whole membership and providing particular benefits to business owner members. This will include:

* The launch of a PCU MasterCard which can be used at 15 million outlets in the UK and abroad
* A new interactive website so that PCU members can manage their accounts online
*Transaction banking facilities to enable PCU members to make and receive payments to and from third parties.
* A mobile app

Shane Bowes is excited by what the future holds for black business owners and budding entrepreneurs within the Christian community. "It was refreshing to see so many church leaders and Christian influencers attend Solomon's Room. The feedback has been positive and people have expressed a desire to see the black Christian community become entrepreneurial.
 
“The PCU is keen to support the Pentecostal Christian community as it takes bolder steps towards entrepreneurship and will ensure that it's services means the needs of the growing business community within the church. "

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