The FORGE Global Summit 2023, hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, by Sinapis in partnership with Faith Driven Investor and Angello, recently convened 150 entrepreneurs, capacity builders, and investors from 32 countries.
These leaders gathered to champion job creation by indigenous Christian entrepreneurs as one of the most effective, sustainable solutions to poverty in the world today.
Excitement for this vision for change grew throughout the week as participants deepened relationships, learned from one another, and built trust.
Toward the end of the summit, we asked some of the participants to share what the experience meant to them. Here’s what they shared in English, even though (impressively!) most of them speak it as a second or even third language.
These quotes have been slightly edited for clarity.
“We’ve had a sense for a few years that God is doing something new and different in Kingdom building in emerging and frontier markets. That’s what God’s put on our hearts for these markets, and we’re seeing something really exciting begin to happen. We met together in Egypt last year; it’s this amazing collaboration . . . with Sinapis [and] FDE. And that was exciting, but what we’ve seen happening in the last 12 months is completely unbelievable. We just see God is working so much. And the thing that excites me the most is that leaders are rising up in the emerging and frontier markets with their vision for Kingdom coming in their countries, and they realize they’re going to have to be patient—it’s a 10-20 year thing. It’s about being present in the marketplace, but it’s their vision. They’ve got courage about it, and we’re seeing them starting to rise up and lead that. And what we’re seeing here happening in FORGE is a meeting place where international partners can begin to see where they need to recalibrate their thinking and figure out how to come as partners to support local vision and local leadership. We’re starting to see that emerge, and that really excites me. And that, for me, is the big takeaway from FORGE. It’s the beginning of a completely new era of Kingdom building in the frontier and emerging markets, and we’re going to be amazed at what that’s going to look like in the next 10 to 20 years.” — Malcolm Johnston, Partner - Angello Tribe (Ireland)
“[We're thankful] for this whole conference, we have made so many friends here” — Aleem Emannuel, Business and Partnerships Advisor, Pak Mission Society (Pakistan)
“We are super happy to be here — I really feel like I’m part of a family with the same vision, values, and drive to make a transformational impact in our nations. We’ve been equipped — forged. We’ve got momentum to go back with more enthusiasm, passion, and compassion for our countrymen to see them flourish and make an impact in their families, churches, and communities. I look forward to coming back next year with a larger team from Moldova. Thank you very much, everyone, who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this such a valuable time.” — Anatol Malancea, Co-Founder & CEO UniQa Wall Systems (Moldova)
“This week has been all about what we call ‘Agents of Hope.’ I’ve been surrounded by people from every corner of the world and every corner of this social entrepreneur, social impact ecosystem. What I’m taking away aside from new friendships and connections is new opportunities for collaboration and partnerships. The spirit here has been very friendly and generative: great fellowship, great food, great weather, great organization. Can’t wait till next year!” — Christy Davis, Board Member TBN Global Alliance and Belmont University Innovation Labs (United States)
“See you soon! FORGE 2024!” — Corneliu Niste, Managing Partner, Guiding Faith (Romania)
“FORGE has really been so insightful for me. Not just for networking and knowing people from other countries. It’s kind of funny to say that it’s nice to know we have people with the same struggles, and we can help each other. How do things work well for them? How do they work well for us? That was really very helpful for me this week to talk with people and even the sessions. There are very good sessions that we are having here, to learn a lot of new things. I’m so excited to go back to Mozambique and do new things, a lot of good things.” — Ebel Chimunthu, CEO of Start Space, Equip Mozambique
“This week has been incredible. I’ve met a lot of people across the globe. I’ve met people who use different tools to measure impact. I’ve met investors and capacity builders, and I’ve shared with different cultures what works and what doesn’t work. I really appreciate Sinapis for organizing this. It’s been a learning curve for me” — Eyoel Solomon, KIBIR Consulting (Ethiopia)
“It was a great and exceptional time to spend this week with all the friends here, seeing different experiences, having more partners, and sharing how God is working with all of us. It was really something that touched me and had given me more clear perspective for the Kingdom and how I can serve my business and all the people that I work with. This was a very good experience. Thank you to all the team and Sinapis and Angello” — Fady Amin, Consultant & Business Programs Manager - tcEgypt (Egypt)
“This was a very different experience, and I actually believe that we’re going to look back at this event for something new that started— because the way our hearts have connected here is unique. We’re in the business world, come on! And we’re connecting hearts like crazy for the Kingdom, and that is fantastic. I’m looking forward already to next year.” — Hakan Sandberg, Founder – Itzinya & Partner – Angello (Sweden)
“Personally, I’ve been so inspired by what God is doing through entrepreneurial ecosystems all over the world—stories from Mongolia, Uzbekistan — it’s just incredible to see that God really is bringing people together, humble servants doing their part.” — James Waters, Director of Kingdom Impact Framework, Eido Research (UK)
“It has been a real pleasure to come here at the FORGE conference, it’s the very first time we are meeting people from the Sinapis team, and from Faith Driven Investor, and the people from Agello. What is the takeaway from me? We have been exploring entrepreneurial ecosystems in our country, but we don’t know about what the ideal ecosystem looks like, so visiting Kenya and visiting these people and seeing this emerging ecosystem has really given us a real direction on what we need to work on in Pakistan, how to improve those areas. And last but not least, meeting with the wonderful people from all around the world from 32 countries is a big blessing, and we are going to cherish these relationships not only from today but in the years to come.” — Kehkshan Jibran, Senior Manager Programmes – Pak Mission Society (Pakistan)
“It’s a huge pleasure to be here in Nairobi for a third time. We love this country and its people. I remember myself years back in Brazil thinking I’m lonely in this whole journey, and figuring out there are plenty of people from dozens and dozens of countries on a similar path. It’s a life calling thing to be part of it, so we appreciate FORGE placing those people together in this space so we can collaborate and learn from each other as being part of what Jesus is doing in the marketplace globally.” — Paulo Humaitá, Founder & CEO Bluefields (Brazil)
“This whole conference has been an exhilarating time where we learn about different networks and capacity builders but also the generosity from everyone in sharing resources, sharing ideas—this is excellent. There is a Thai saying we have that “if you go it alone, you can go fast, but if you go at it together, you can go the distance.” And so this conference is something that really helps us build stamina to last the distance together—thank you.” — Sam Lim, Founder & Executive Director - TonCedar (Thailand)
“I came to this conference not really expecting to get something out of it but to see what’s going to happen, and I’ve been blown away by the one week that we had.....The greatest takeaway is that I’ve learned quite a bit and there’s been such an integration of the capacity builders, the investors, and entrepreneurs all coming together and discussing so many things that we would not have otherwise if we had not had a chance. Thank you, again, Sinapis, and the entire team, for such a great opportunity.” — Smily Rostus, Managing Director, HillTree Group of Companies (India)
“This week has just been a reminder that God is at work in so many different ways and in so many contexts. There was something special about all of us being in the same space of capacity building, but from different geographical regions and at different stages of building out our services and programs. I’ve so appreciated the generosity of spirit in sharing and trading ideas, the mealtime conversations and storytelling, the vulnerability about the challenges we’ve faced, and even the [kindness and understanding practiced] when there were different ideas being expressed. It was truly a life-giving time!” — Pei Lee, TBN Asia (Singapore)
“It’s been an incredible week. I’ve been experiencing God's presence among us and how God is working around us and in us. When I’m talking to people from different cultures and from overseas who are in villages from other countries, we have the same big dream, the same mutual interests, and mutual goals. I’m glad the sharing has been so personal, so global!” — Jolly Dorjgotov, Director of Operations and Outreach - Asia Leadership Development Network (Mongolia)
FORGE is the only annual conference for Christian-focused entrepreneurship ecosystems in emerging and frontier markets. Its Christ-exalting collaborations exist to work for the sustainable alleviation of poverty through the expansion of God’s Kingdom in frontier market ecosystems.
To learn more about the evidence-based outcomes of Sinapis’ capacity-building work to alleviate poverty, CLICK HERE.
To learn more about FORGE, please contact Sylvie Sommerville via email.