On the road now, driving from Grand Rapids to Chattanooga in a single day. I’m traveling with two colleagues from Partners Worldwide. We’re headed down for a U.S. national gathering co-hosted by one of our affiliates, LAUNCH. We will be together with 70 people from around the country and local to Chattanooga. The purpose is to get a close look at an effective model for creating jobs in communities of high unemployment. Most of the people in attendance are interested doing something in their own city about job creation through business growth and entrepreneurship.
One of the featured businesses in Chattanooga is Big Buff’s 92 BBQ. The owner, Ervin Juan Bailey aka Big Buff, is featured today at Nooga.com, an online portal serving the entire city. The grand opening for Big Buff’s 92 BBQ is tomorrow and will be part of the Partners Worldwide event.
Our schedule is below and it’s going to be a powerful. Wish everyone could be here:
Thursday, June 6
11-12:30 @ Hope for the Inner City & Big Buff’s 92 BBQ Grand Opening
12:45 – 1:30pm @ All Dogs Funnel Cakes & More (mobile food truck: Thursday’s location is downtown Chattanooga)
2-3 @ Bethlehem Center for an Entrepreneurs Panel
6-8 pm @ Stratton Hall for the Graduation of the Spring 2013 classes from LAUNCH Business Training
Friday, June 7
Partners Worldwide overview and U.S. region opportunities
LAUNCH Walk-Thru: The start, current activities, and future vision of a Partners Worldwide affiliate that is creating jobs in a community with high unemployment. To date LAUNCH has provided business training for more than 150 individuals, and from this training group 23 new businesses have started that represent more than 50 jobs. Hal Bowling, executive director of LAUNCH, will lead the presentation.
Forum on Building an Ecosystem that Eradicates Poverty.
- Panelists include:
- Robby Holt of Mountain Fellowship on Understanding The Faith-Work Divide
- Dr. Brian Fikkert, co-author of When Helping Hurts, on Two Chattanoogas
- Sheldon Grizzle of The Company Lab on connecting with existing entrepreneurship ecosystems
- Lane Ford of North Shore Fellowship on Integrating Faith and Work
- Paul Green of Hope for the Inner City on Overcoming Paternalism
We close with a commissioning – Commissioning of attendees as Marketplace Ministers.
Attendees are coming from Phoenix, Kansas City, South Texas, Memphis, Charlotte, Indiana, Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Gulf, Atlanta, Louisville, Chattanooga and Michigan. I’m grateful to God for the group that is assembling.