Steve Burgess (pictured left) recognizes the expression he’s seen on the faces of entrepreneurs in Peru, Rwanda, and Ukraine. That’s because he can personally relate to the sense of dignity that comes with realizing a dream.
In 1988, Steve and his wife, Michelle, had the vision to start an IT business. But with Steve in college and Michelle supporting their family on $5.10/hour, there were no frills, and there was certainly no lump sum of capital to invest in a new business. (Steve fondly recalls how, when he and Michelle would host parties in their home, “It was BYOM: bring your own meat.”)
Still, in order to get their business off the ground, they required basic necessities, like a computer, printer, and fax machine.
They applied for a $6,000 loan from a local bank and were approved—but only on the condition that Steve’s father co-sign on the loan.
Yet it was that $6,000 loan and the support of family that equipped Steve and Michelle to fulfill their dream of launching a company, allowing them to provide for their own family and go on to create employment for more than 100 others.
Based on this experience, Steve identifies with the obstacles entrepreneurs in developing countries face as they seek to provide for their families: “Someone has to give them the backing to allow them to create a credit history. But who takes that chance?”
Today, Steve invests in men and women served by HOPE International, saying, “The spirit of a talented, driven, desiring person is a powerful force.”
He also values HOPE’s commitment to discipleship:
If all you’re doing is making money, you’re going to find that’s a very empty process in the end. You have to meet people’s physical needs. But from there, they can start looking into the gifts that God’s given them and how those gifts can encourage other people.”
Steve saw this dynamic at work when he met a woman who was using a loan from HOPE Ukraine to cultivate her crops in a greenhouse. Her face lit up as she showered gifts of produce upon her visitors. “She was so excited to be able to give something to another person,” Steve shares. Because, as Steve knows well, when someone invests in your dream, often, you just can’t wait to give back.
At HOPE International, we’re eager to join God’s work of restoring dreams. Watch how we invest in the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities.