Hub for change
Anglican Deaconess Ministries has begun its fourth year of The Hub, a mentoring program that coaches and encourages Christian female entrepreneurs to grow and develop projects designed for the benefit of others.
Seven women are taking part in The Hub in 2018, involved in work as diverse as fair trade, support and outreach to those in Bible training/communities whose first language isn’t English, dealing with stress, helping underprivileged children to play and learn, and caring for women who have been in slavery or grappled with postnatal psychosis.
Eleven women have already taken part in The Hub since its inception in 2015, and those taking part in 2018 meet regularly for group coaching sessions with Christian women who have decades of experience in the business world, the law, non-profit organisations and in founding companies designed to bring about change and greater care in society.
Kara Martin is project leader for The Hub, and also fills the same role at Seed – a Christian organisation that supports the design and creation of God-honouring businesses, products and services, and has made its coaching programs available to ADM for The Hub since 2015.
Says Ms Martin: “Many entrepreneurial incubators are short term and focused on business outcomes, but The Hub runs over a year and is focused on kingdom change with a sustainable project also a goal. We have three intensives: the first aimed at aligning the projects with God’s purposes, the second looking at financial structures and the third working on a strategy for long-term sustainability.
“In between we focus on understanding beneficiaries, using kingdom imagination, designing for change, pitching practice, forming collaborations and fundraising.”
The CEO of ADM, Dr Kate Harrison Brennan, says that ADM seeks to support the women who take part in The Hub “to grow more like Christ while they lead and grow work in his name”.
“As a former founder of a tech company, I was blessed by a church that sought to support my work, and by wise mentors,” she adds. “But I simply didn’t have the time to seek out a community of other Christians to be running partners specifically in my work. ADM provides that solution, and focuses on Christian women. We have heard time and again from women who have been through the program how valuable it has been, and how God has continued to work through the community that he has built.”
The work of each of the women relates to ADM’s three key areas of ministry: theological formation, mercy and justice, and public engagement, and they were chosen to take part in the program after a competitive application process. Previous Hub participants include the founder of the Jesus Club ministry, Dr Mel Fung; the founder of the Fixing Her Eyes website, Jen Barker; and Ruth Lewis-Jones, creator of the Esteem Designz program for women and girls.
Says Ms Martin: “I am always amazed at the fabulous ideas that women have to honour God and serve others, but many of them lack the methodology, confidence and community of support to turn their ideas into reality. The Hub provides those resources, thanks to the generosity of ADM and the tools from Seed.
“There is a common hope that God will be glorified by what we achieve together.”