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Prof. Henry M. Bwisa

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enterpreneurship in the bible



Recently (early 2016) Kenya’s Attorney General proposed that religious organizations in Kenya should be regulated and this caused an uproar across the religious divide. One of the reasons leading to the desire by the government to regulate religious bodies is the mushrooming of churches some with pastors who seem to employ unique “entrepreneurial” approaches in their teachings and soliciting monetary contributions from their congregations. A common phrase used by the said pastors and preachers is “panda mbegu” which literary means “grow seeds”. The said pastors have literary been asking followers to plant by donating money and expect to harvest.


The pastors seem to borrow from the teachings of the bible. For example in Mathew 13 there is the parable of the Sower told by Jesus.  “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

And in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 it reads “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building”.


In Matthew 25:1-46 there is a story of ten virgins who went to wait for a bridegroom. While five carried lamps with extra oil foreseeing that it may take long and their lamps could run out of oil, another  five did not carry extra oil and when their lamps extinguished they left to fetch for more oil and while they were away the bridegroom came and they missed an opportunity. This parable teaches about the entrepreneurship doctrines of having a vision and strategic planning.


In Matthew 25:14-30 there is a parable of the Talents where a man with three servants went on a journey and as he did so he entrusted each of his three servants with five talents. On return he received the same five talents from one of the servant while the next one gave back double what he received and the third one gave back triple the amount he received. The one who never multiplied the talents was rebuked and what he had was given to the one who tripled the talents. Some of the entrepreneurship teachings in this parable are productivity and creative value addition.   Entrepreneurs are expected to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways and/or extraordinary things in ordinary ways. 


The above verses and parables seem to be in direct conflict with  Luke 18:25, which reads, “Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God"  all depending on the interpretation. A direct interpretation of the verse would de-motivate those wishing to engage in entrepreneurship to become rich for fear of not entering the kingdom of God.


The reason why Luke 18: 25 should not be literary interpreted is that the bible itself has very rich characters. Genesis 13 outlines Abram as very wealthy in livestock, gold, and silver. The Bible tells us Solomon was extremely wealthy. We are told that Solomon generated wealth by bringing peace to the kingdom, which allowed him to use his resources for production, rather than protection. In addition, he encouraged trade and is said to have been the only Jewish king with a trading fleet (1 Kings 9). Women are not left out. It is known that Roman women were allowed to own property and conduct business. There is Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth in Thyratira.

The message here is that indeed the bible encourages entrepreneurship. The question is - could it be that the “panda mbegu” pastors and preachers do over-entrepreneurialize the bible?

An anonymous researcher once wrote that one stereotypical image that sometimes hovers around the concept of the "entrepreneur" is the conniving, step-on-anyone-to-get-ahead, wheeler-dealer who cares for no one but himself and nothing but his own advancement. Indeed the business world is not short of such people. Very often we hear the term "entrepreneur" applied to scam artists who rip off unsuspecting people, to dealers in illegal trades who prey on the weaknesses of others, and to white-collar criminals who try to cheat the system. Applying the term "entrepreneur" to people doing these transactions implies that the term has no basis in values and morals.

But entrepreneurship is not a values-free, amoral process. The very act of starting and building something of significance should require a consideration of values -- of combining what is done with how it is done. When a pastor puts potassium permanganate in water to turn the water into the colour of blood and washes with it a believer’s wound telling the believer that the believer is being washed by the blood of Jesus and goes on to ask the believer to “panda mbegu” for the healing to take place then the honesty value of entrepreneurship is lost.


It comes as little surprise that the right thinking Kenyan public has become weary of “panda mbegu” pastors and has complained loudly as can be filtered from the following sources which are only a few of the many:

'panda mbegu' pastors with agriculture ministry - › local news; jarunda exposing panda mbegu pastors... - gor ...; ktn jicho pevu to expose panda mbegu pastor ...; top 10 panda mbegu pastors | kenyatalk › forums › main category › general; this “panda mbegu” madness is too much… - kenyan ...; topic: kenyan – pastors and money?? mwm panda mbegu ...; don't go to these churches - capital radio - capital fm; exposed: ten ways of how the fake pastors extort from ... › expose”

Entrepreneurship can be a creative act made possible by the creative impulse that God gave most, if not all, of us. It requires certain personal traits that God desires us to have. The Bible provides many examples of entrepreneurs. The scripture contains several cases of entrepreneurship, but we must first make sure that we are using the proper definition of the word. Entrepreneurship is a creative act that brings higher levels of satisfaction to people, results in more order, and finds ways to create greater value than existed before. The “panda mbegu” pastors may not be practicing the entrepreneurship in the bible.


Prof. Henry M. Bwisa

Full professor of entrepreneurship – JKUAT

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One page business plan

One Page Small Business Plan Guide

It is said that nobody gets to be a millionaire working for another. The statement literary implies that one cannot get richer than one’s employer the argument being that what an employee gets as salary is only a fraction of the profit the employer keeps. Therefore if you are a student or unemployed it may pay for you to start thinking of self more than wage employment. If you are already employed then start thinking of your life after retirement since your employer will not hire you forever.


There is a Chinese proverb that, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. One interpretation of this proverb is that, “even the most difficult ventures have a starting point”.


Some economists think that the Indian economy has the potential to become the world's 3rd-largest economy by the next decade, and one of the largest economies by mid-century. This world’s largest democracy has promoted the creation of small-scale industries in large numbers perhaps building on Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings that “the poor of the world cannot be helped by mass production, [but] only production by the masses". The message of the teaching is that countries must invest in businesses in which masses can productively participate and these are small and medium scale businesses.


E.F. Schumacher advanced Gandhi’s philosophy in his book: Small Is Beautiful. The following poetic advice is attributed to E. F. Schumacher:


If you want to go places, start from where you are

If you are poor, start with something cheap

If you are uneducated start with something simple

If you live in a poor environment and poverty makes markets small, start with something small

If you are unemployed start with using your own labour because any productive use of it is better than letting it lie idle

It has been empirically proved all over the world that small scale industries are adept in distributing national income in more efficient and equitable manner among the populace than their medium or larger counterparts. Why should you not join the many owners of small enterprises?

 Starting a small business can either be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things that you ever did, or it can turn into a huge nightmare if you let it. You greatly increase your chances of success by having a simple one page business plan created as your starting point. There is an old saying that has proven itself over and over again and it is especially true in the business world. The saying goes like this “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Having a simple business plan is like having a road-map to help you get from where you are today to where you want to be some time in the future.

Why is a business plan so important?

A plan is a look into the future. A business is an activity undertaken for profit. One reason a business plan is so important, is because it allows you to be clear on exactly what your business is going to do and how it is going to go about accomplishing that objective.

A business plan does not have to be complicated. In fact, the more basic it is the better. You can more easily make changes and adjustments if and as needed to a simple business plan. Nine out of ten times things will change so quickly and so dramatically as soon as you start your business that you may need to re-create the entire business plan to re-adjust to the new situation that you face. Over time as the business grows, you can continue modifying, revising and enhancing the business plan. Starting with a simple one page business plan will be more than enough to help you get started on the right foot.

Here is a template for your one page business plan


Company Name:







  1. Businesses Vision

A vision is a dream. It defines the desired future state - the mental picture - of what an you want your business to achieve over time. What do you dream your business to be? Do you want to be the business of choice for a global clientele? Do you want to grow into the largest business in your sector? State your vision in a sentence or two


  1. Business Mission

A mission statement defines the present state or purpose of your business and says why the business exists or should exist. It answers three basic questions: what the business does or will do; for who the business does it or will do it and how the business does it or will do it. For example the mission statement for Nissan: "Nissan provides unique and innovative automotive products and services that deliver superior, measurable values to all stakeholders in alliance with Renault."  Another anonymous mission reads, "Our mission is to make our company the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise”

  1. Business description

Describe the business. What will the business involve? What is the product/service on offer? What are its dimensions, characteristics etc?

  1. Business goal/objective

Goals and objectives describe what a company expects to accomplish throughout the year. A goal is a general statement of achievement while an objective is a specific step or action you take to reach your goal. Your goal could be profitability e.g.  To run a profitable business operation. An objective would be to increase sales by 10% annually.

  1. Competition

List your three top competitors their strengths and weaknesses , how they carry out their business

  1.  Business Strategies

A strategy is a way of competing. How will you compete?  Which markets will you compete in and what kind of marketing activities will you undertake? What will you do to perform better than the competition? What resources (skills, assets, finance, relationships, technical competence, facilities) will you employ to outcompete the competition? What external, environmental factors might affect the businesses' ability to compete and how will you handle them?


  1. Financial projections

How much will you require to start and run the business (list of things you will require and their costs)? How will you raise these funds?  How much revenue do you expect to generate (how many sales per week, month)?

  1. Implementation

How exactly are you going to operate (time, days)? Whom are you going to sell to and how (direct selling, through distributors, on credit, cash only)? How will you package the product/service

  1. Contribution

What contribution will the business make to the local economy (e.g. employment creation, buying local inputs etc)

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Nobody becomes a millionaire working for another

Nobody becomes a millionaire working for another

I created a divided house when I made the statement, “nobody gets to be a millionaire working for another” at a recent professorial luncheon at my university. There are those who reminded me that there are millionaire chief executive officers (CEOs) of companies.  Others thought I was urging people, including teachers/lecturers like themselves, to abandon wage employment as they posed a valid question – can all of us work for ourselves (be self-employed entrepreneurs)? Only a handful of colleagues agreed with my statement.

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Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organizations or revitalizing mature organizations, particularly new businesses generally in response to identified opportunities. Entrepreneurship is often a difficult undertaking, as a vast majority of new businesses fail.

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Author I Professor Bwisa, use my extensive research, experience and networks in small enterprise development and entrepreneurship to bring you practical informationand ideas on small business development.