Their mission is to empower aspiring entrepreneurs in the developing world with innovative, scalable business ideas by providing them with a rigorous, Christ-centered business education, world-class consulting and mentoring services and access to seed capital. Through these means, they strive to create ethical business leaders, sustainable employment and an improved quality of life for many that they may glorify God in service of His people.
Sinapis is the scientific name for the mustard plant. Jesus speaks of the mustard seed three separate times in the New Testament. (Matt. 13:31-32; Mark 4:31-32; Luke 13:18-19). In each instance He relates the Kingdom of God to this seed, which though very small grows to be a surprisingly large tree-like plant. Similarly, Sinapis hopes to glorify God by giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow small seeds of ideas into strong businesses, which can in turn provide for many.
The roots of Sinapis date back to December of 2008 when two Harvard graduate students, Courtney Rountree Mills and Karibu Nyaggah, met during a student trip to east Africa. Courtney was a graduate student at Harvard Kennedy School and Karibu was a graduate student at Harvard Business School. Karibu was leading the student trip to his home country of Kenya. Courtney and Karibu became fast friends during the trip, and soon Courtney revealed her vision of setting up an accelerator program for start-up stage entrepreneurs in Kenya. Later that year, Courtney embarked upon her thesis where she received the opportunity to work with the Ministry of Finance in Kenya to help them look at bottlenecks in the private sector, particularly with regards to entrepreneurship. Courtney received funds from Harvard to do research on the subject the summer of 2009 and travelled to Kenya with fellow Harvard graduate, Matt Stolhandske, to diligence the viability of an early stage accelerator program in Nairobi. Interviewing over 100 professionals from the for-profit, non-profit and government sectors on the entrepreneurship space laid the groundwork for the first version of the business plan for the accelerator program. Increasingly, there was a call to think about how this accelerator program could directly glorify God’s kingdom and increase His presence in Kenya in a practical way. Thus, they decided to make the Sinapis program centered on Kingdom business principles that help entrepreneurs integrate their faith with their business. They named the organization Sinapis, the latin name for the mustard seed found in the mustard seed parable of the New Testament, to reflect this vision.
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