Jerry Marshall aboard a Boda Boda (motorbike)
Jerry Marshall is a member of St Mary’s Church, Weaverham, where he is a youth leader, communications coordinator, and part of their café church team. He also devotes his time to helping people in Africa. He has recently returned from one of the poorest parts of rural Uganda after delivering business start-up training to over 50 people. The training course was delivered at a vocational training organisation TANU (Transformational Advocacy Network Uganda).
With a career in setting up businesses himself, Jerry feels that his way of helping others is to impart his knowledge of business to those who need it most: “I saw that there were people in Uganda who were very poor, with many living on less than £1 a day, and felt a calling to help them in any way that I could.”
Jerry is the founder and director of a charity called Transformational Enterprise Network (TEN) which officially began in June 2021. TEN comprises of a group of likeminded Christian businesspeople who are committed to developing enterprise as the long-term solution to poverty. Jerry says, “We aim to give people a hand up, not a handout.”
His approach to helping people to start their own business is a three-stage process rooted in the Bible story of the ‘Feeding of the five thousand’.
"I ask people to not think about what they don’t have, but instead, to build on what they do have", Jerry says. The training he provides guides people through the process of choosing the right business for them to start; and then helps them establish whether the business idea is viable. The course covers a number of topics for consideration, including:
- What are the local needs?
- What are your personal skills?
- What do you enjoy doing?
During his recent visit, Jerry caught up with five businesses that his organisation had helped fund in 2021. Just like any cross-section of start-ups, some are doing better than others.
“One, a tailoring business, is doing particularly well and is currently looking at exporting their products to the UK market," Jerry says. “It was an amazing experience to be there. Memorable experiences include our trainees singing gospel songs at every break; traveling on the Boda Boda (motorbike) after dark with two heavy suitcases and a driver able to hold my backpack, answer his phone and avoid the potholes; and introducing marshmallow roasting over the campfire causing much excitement and laughter.”
You can find out more about TEN here www.tencommunity.net
Attendees of the business course with their certificates of completion.
Called to Serve
Whoever we are, we each have a unique calling to serve God in our everyday lives. Perhaps you feel called to the workplace, to youth ministry or to be ordained, or perhaps you feel called to be share your skills in business just like Jerry? Maybe it’s none of these things, or something new but you’re not quite sure what! Whatever sense of call you are experiencing, help is available to help you discern it.
If you are interested in exploring God's call on your life, why not conisder attending Called to Serve, a day-long vocations conference.