I’ve just emerged from three intensive days of business meetings for foreigners attempting to start out in business in China. Wow, what a worldview change for someone with a background in community development and the non-profit world! Happily, what we’ve discovered is that a lot of people are making the shift from purely non-profit ways of engaging hurting communities, to for-profit initiatives also aimed at community development. While the switch is somewhat mind-boggling at times, at least we are in good company!
We had a great plenary speaker, a wonderful man who is willing to share his world of experience with those of us just starting on this road. He has 20+ years’ experience using business to transform communities in China, and his witness to us is that it can be done, and many, many lives affected through it. I was grateful for the chance to sit down and ask many questions…of him and of others who have paved the way.
Two of my top questions they helped me with…
– How do we deal with large factories (like the spinner who is over 2 months late on delivering our samples) as a small fry company that doesn’t have much bargaining power?
– How do we do international trade in a way that most of our profit doesn’t get eaten by gov’t taxes instead of invested back in the communities with which we partner?
I won’t bore you with his answers….just suffice it to say I am rejoicing in having people who know what they are doing that are willing to take the time to teach me!