Mexico City has historically been a business powerhouse in Latin America and home to a large entrepreneurial community. Now, the effects of the COVID endemic are deeply felt in Mexico’s business community, as it is around the world. As entrepreneurs in Mexico City navigate the local and national economy in the months to come, supporting job creation will be a critical need. While COVID isn’t the reason that almost half of Mexico City’s population lives in poverty, it is having an impact according to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL).
CMF International is a global mission organization serving in 26 countries around the world. Their mission is to create dynamic Christ-centered communities that transform the world. They have been serving in Mexico City through their cross-cultural church planting and later through campus ministry programs for over four decades . They decided to expand their ministry into the business world by launching their Marketplace Ministries in Mexico City through a new partnership with Sinapis in the summer of 2021.
Marketplace Ministries have teams across the globe placed in urban and rural environments that use their gifts and talents to reach people behind closed doors with the Good News of Jesus through intentional ministry and holistic development. Marketplace Ministers focus on creating economic and spiritual transformation. A primary objective of these business–minded missionaries is to train and disciple future local entrepreneurs who will develop new Kingdom businesses.
Marketplace missionaries working in economic development serve at the intersection of entrepreneurship and discipleship. They use their business skills and experience to help local entrepreneurs develop businesses that display the Kingdom and help develop a sustainable, holistic approach to poverty reduction led by the members of the community.
Sylvie Somerville, Director of Product & Partnerships, spent a week in Mexico City with the Marketplace Ministries Mexico staff and nine local Christian business people who were interested in learning what it takes to become trainers of Sinapis curriculum and build the local Kingdom entrepreneurship ecosystem. Sinapis and Sinapis Network partners like CMF create teams of diverse external business people to become trainers of our content in an effort to ensure we have marketplace experts who can integrate their real world experience.
The Marketplace Ministries Mexico team completed their pilot nine week Aspire Launchpad program in December 2021 with eight local entrepreneurs. The program was trained by a local entrepreneur, Ondina Morales, and supported by CMF’s local team members Olivia Shank and Mariana Luna. Mariana and her husband have been local entrepreneurs for the past 12 years, and Mariana had been an active board member for CMF International prior to joining the Marketplace Ministries staff after feeling so strongly about the launch. Sinapis is very excited about this partnership and encourages you to learn more about the entire Marketplace Ministries Mexico team here.
The first eight weeks of the pilot were done via Zoom due to coronavirus restrictions, but the week nine celebration was done in-person. Participants presented their businesses and networked for hours afterwards. Post-course surveys and conversations highlighted the course's practical value and the way the lessons were directly applicable to their businesses, the value students saw in learning about connecting faith to how they run their businesses, and the value of networking with the other entrepreneurs. A few of the more experienced entrepreneurs, already running successful and growing businesses themselves, shared that a number of course topics (eg, market research) were things they needed but had never learned. They are eager to see how these lessons impact their businesses in the future as they begin to put them into practice.
As a member of the team and very new at implementing the Sinapis program, I could see the value that the material facilitated added to each participant of the training. Even though all of the participants were in different stages of their business, they could apply the knowledge to their business, even if they were just in the idea stage. We could see how God used Ondina the trainer to share about the Kingdom Business principles in a way that made sense to all participants, and I could see the change in mindsets with some christian and non-christian participants. We see the potential of the program in Mexico and a bit of the intentions that God has for Mexican entrepreneurs. Even during this time of COVID, we were able to connect with the students and start a relationship with them. We are very excited to walk alongside them in this journey.
CMF’s evangelism initiatives around the world are designed to minister to people’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs with the gospel of Christ. With their desire to build holistic ministries that break the bonds of poverty, expanding their reach into the marketplace to equip Christian entrepreneurs with tools to grow their businesses, create jobs, and to create Kingdom business that generate spiritual and economic returns was a natural progression. They join a growing network of like-minded organizations in the Sinapis Network and we’re excited to grow together.