Bpeace: More Jobs Means Less Violence
Bpeace connects established entrepreneurs in economically challenged communities with the business advice they need to grow and create jobs.
I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
I am over 18 years of age
My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States
Where are you making a difference?
Maryland: Baltimore (21201), Baltimore (21202), Baltimore (21231), Baltimore (21230), Baltimore (21223)
Focus Areas (required)
Business & Social Enterprise
Development & Prosperity
Peace & Harmonious Relations
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
Website or social media URL(s) (optional)
1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.
After the events of 9/11, our co-founder, Toni Maloney, was invited to a conference in Geneva at the United Nations. There, she and other businesswomen attending envisioned that business should play a role in building bridges to peace. With that intention, Bpeace -- the Business Council for Peace -- was launched and within 90 days, 60 other businesswomen had joined the coalition.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Bpeace believes the path to peace is lined with jobs -- a job that nourishes a family, sends children to school, and cuts the oxygen to gang, terrorist and other violence of neighbor against neighbor.
We want to enable and amplify small businesses to create new jobs. With our partnership and assistance, Baltimore Bpeace Fast Runner entrepreneurs will become neighborhood role models and spark a sustainable multiplier effect in the community.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
While Baltimore currently has opportunities and financial instruments in place to help small businesses grow, Bpeace is poised to step into the winnable gap to provide these established entrepreneurs with the business advisory to expand and create more jobs. More than money is needed to unlock revenue and job growth, and our tested, innovative approach to bridging this gap is poised to impact change in a city notably beset with economic and civic challenges.
For example: Baltimore City Health Department has a Business Advisory Group comprised of nearly 30 representatives from Baltimore’s leading companies, including T. Rowe Price, UnderArmour, and Legg Mason. BCHD formed the Business Advisory Group to collaborate with partners from the business community to promote health and well-being for all residents and employees of Baltimore. Members provide advice, insight, and support for BCHD initiatives that aim to improve health throughout the City. Bpeace will work with the Business Advisory Group to put in place a Skillanthropy program -- our internationally successful approach -- to match employees of these companies with established entrepreneurs who are positioned to grow.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.
As a chef, Mariela Saravia had a dream to delight people with tasty food and she set out alone, producing artisan chips. Needing advice, Mariela contacted Bpeace about her production processes and desire to improve costs, quality, delivery and waste reduction. We matched her with Isabel Echeverria, a San Francisco-based Six Sigma Black Belt and Scrum Master. Through Isabel's advice, Mariela is thriving, employing 15 Guatemalans, mostly women, and bridging the farming and food communities.
For 10+ years Bpeace has been a well-kept secret as it methodically helps entrepreneurs scale and create employment in their communities. In the wake of conflict, we are helping these fast running entrepreneurs run quicker and bolder. In 2017, the 100+ businesses in the Bpeace portfolio averaged 27% job growth, and created nearly 3,500 jobs -- 59% of them held by women. In Baltimore, we can add more.
5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?
Bpeace encounters the underserved in both expected and unlikely places -- because joblessness and its effects are everywhere. To address this reality, Bpeace has woven together a network of experienced professionals -- our "Skillanthropists" -- to work with capable, motivated "fast running" entrepreneurs and small businesses. With this guidance, business issues are solved and plans are implemented to foster growth and job creation -- and each job is a beacon of hope and a catalyst to stability.
5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:
6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are looking for assistance and insight, and many organizations and state governmental departments are offering these. Bpeace stands apart in its active, networked, personal approach.
Our greatest strength is action. Bpeace has motivated teams of staff and skill-based volunteers working on the ground in-country, mentoring virtually, and connecting dots and doing the leg-work to create and revise our strategy behind the scenes. Our approach is based in action, and in the belief that reducing conflict within a company reduces conflict outside it.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Bpeace goes where it is needed -- and where it can fulfill its mission of "more jobs means less violence."
Since its founding in 2002, Bpeace has provided over $10 million dollars in pro bono consulting for businesses in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Rwanda. With this ROI -- which we call Return on Involvement, over 200 local businesses have been strengthened benefiting over 20,000 family members of employees.
For our stories:
For our numbers:
8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?
Bpeace is set apart by three unique differentiators: strategy, momentum and scalability. From its beginning, Bpeace has been strategic in all things --from structure to tactics, committed to stretching its capabilities while not exceeding its bandwidth. Our constituencies, network of volunteers and experts, and strong partnership base are both engaged and aligned with our mission. This engagement, coupled with transparent communication and storytelling and vetted and refined processes, are the keys to our momentum. Given this firm foundation, we chose to scale into new regions and communities.
8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?
Large Scale Partnerships
Industry Standards (labels, certification, awards, etc.)
9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
Bpeace is financially stable and ready to extend its reach. Our processes are in place and our bench of Skillanthropists is always growing. We have conversations going with entrepreneurs waiting for our help in cities like Baltimore experiencing conflict and joblessness here in the United States.
Budgeting for this project will require in-house shifts of resources and drawing on connected, region-specific contacts, both in our extensive current network and elsewhere.
10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
Bpeace is a lean organization. Our servant-leader CEO has an inspiring and firm hand on the tiller, and our Board, Executive Council, and cadre of volunteer teams are active, engaged, and meet virtually on a regular basis.
Currently, we have staff members dedicated to the geographic regions we serve. As Bpeace scales, our commitment to remaining lean continues -- but will include more region-specific support. Because we are structured well and strategically, we pull experts from our network.
How did you hear about this challenge?
Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
Ashoka page or contact