There is an African word, Ubuntu, which means “We are someone because the relationships we have in our lives.” Business Connect is a business that has risen out of the experiences of living in several African countries, raising family there, having friends across many cultures and languages. We are connected. More importantly, we seek the benefit of others.
Our purpose is to give hope to the impoverished by creating employment, in the marketing of life enhancing products, within a business model that is sustainable and environmentally balanced. Our values define who we are: Employment, Faith, Profit, and Transparency. Out team members come from various business backgrounds and we embrace business with enthusiasm and an entrepreneurial spirit. Our lives reflect decades of service, both locally and internationally. We seek a greater network, more encompassing, more resources, increasing impact.
Founded in 2010, Business Connect is a social enterprise (L3C) committed to providing citizens living in developing countries with affordable and easy access to essential resources, such as water and light, to strengthen education, health and economic growth opportunities within the communities it serves.
Working within more than 65 countries across Africa, Asia and Central and South America, Business Connect is an organization mobilizing people to achieve their goal through business opportunities and supplying the world with life-enhancing green technologies.
Addressing the critical need for greater access to vital natural resources through the creation of a sustainable, local business model in the global south.
We embrace a multi-dimensional bottom-line approach committed to employment, profit-sharing, transparency and faith. Our purpose is to give hope to the impoverished by creating employment, in the marketing of life enhancing products, within a business model that is sustainable and environmentally balanced.
There is a saying, “People don’t know what they don’t know.” More than one billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day. Another 2.7 billion struggle to survive on less than two dollars per day. Poverty in the global south, however, goes far beyond income poverty. It means having to walk more than one mile everyday simply to collect water and firewood; it means suffering diseases that were eradicated from rich countries decades ago. Every year eleven million children die—most under the age of five and more than six million from completely preventable causes like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. Our work has risen out of the experiences of living in several African countries, raising family there, having friends across many cultures and languages.
We list our Impact Countries not because we are looking to say we have succeeded in each country but because we are calling partners to be involved with us in these places. We are not accomplished until we have seen personal and economic impact at a global scale but we are making inroads in these countries. In our desire for transparency we never want to claim more than what we have accomplished. We have a great work we are a part of and a great more to do.
WE ARE INTERNATIONALLY EXPERIENCED
The founders of Business Connect, Lou and Jan Haveman, have lived and worked in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, and South Africa. They have visited well over a dozen African countries. Their children were born in Africa. They now call Michigan their home.
Business Connect was formed to create hope through business. With over 30 years of community development experience of training and empowering people in the developing world, we want to see people develop greater capacity to meet their own needs in sustainable ways.
We continuously seek to move from being good-hearted, well intentioned people doing wonderful things to trying to find a way to turn things over to a self-sustaining model from day one. Our goal is to bring life enhancing products to the ‘last mile’ — creating local entrepreneurs who, in turn, create healthier communities. We partner with many social enterprises, schools, missions, and NGOs to identify and then build the capacity of these entrepreneurs.
The majority of people living in poverty in the global south live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water or firewood for their family. Not only do these task keep kids out of school or take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick. Access to clean water and clean light means education, income and health – especially for women and kids.
Business Connect is seeking new ways to engage, empower and mobilize people living in the global south to create healthier and sustainable communities. Families living at the last mile do not realize that cooking with kerosene is bad for their health nor do they realize that drinking dirty water may cause them harm. By educating the younger generation – mostly orphans and disadvantaged youth — we want to also educate caregivers about the benefits of utilizing clean resources that will help reduce mortality rates experienced in impoverished communities.
Business Connect is composed of international team determined to maximize the availability of products, providing communities in the developing world or in crisis with greater access to essential and life-enhancing resources. We are three staff but when we say our team we include our valuable distributors and representatives around the world.
Lou has lived and worked in four different African countries over two decades. In 2010, he and his wife, Jan, established Business Connect, a life-enhancing product company to benefit families in crisis in the global south. After working five years with Partners Worldwide, Lou has combined his business and development experience to bring successful businessmen and emerging entrepreneurs together in partnership.