How your congregation can continue the journey into social entrepreneurship

coffee farmingThe SBVP journey requires a commitment of 3 Sisters for at least 18 months as a part time ministry in order to succeed. This is the time commitment of the formation program that would help you start and grow a social enterprise initiative sponsored by your congregation. ACWECA and Miller Center are happy to invest our resources in providing this training, formation and accompaniment. However, the congregation has to match this investment by assigning Sisters who are have time and interest in learning how to become social entrepreneurs. chicks

The SBV Program has three components. The first is the Discovery & Discernment program -- that is what you are just now about to complete. As a result of that program, your congregation should be ready to make a strong decision to invest time and effort in learning social entrepreneurship. 

The second program is the Apprenticeship. In this program, you will be mentored by one of Miller Center’s social enterprise partners, to learn a successful business model, and how you can copy elements of it. You will learn the practical skills necessary to start your own social enterprise on behalf of your congregation, and as a result of this program, you will develop a first draft of your business plan. This is delivered with a blend of in-person and online learning. This program lasts 6-12 months. 

apprenticeshipThe third program is the Sisters Accelerator. This program is delivered by Miller Center and is entirely online learning, including zoom video conference calls. Miller Center provides the curriculum but also successful business mentors to help you. The host social enterprise in your apprenticeship may also help mentor. As a result of this program, you will write a business plan and create a financial plan to guide you for several years, and the tools to raise investment in your enterprise. This program lasts 6-8 months. 

Here is the information about how your congregation can apply. There are two components: a Congregational Application for the SBVP in the form of a survey, and a letter from your Superior or Superior General to ACWECA. Before you prepare those, however, we request that you undertake a discernment process, with a number of Sisters in your congregation, and with your Superior or leadership council. There is no “correct” number of conversations or discernment sessions. This is up to you Sisters to determine … but you should attempt to gather information on your congregation and its ministries, and also share what you have learned about social entrepreneurship with your Sisters, and your vision for social entrepreneurship in your congregation. 

Here are some of the questions to guide your discernment. 

  • What aspects of social entrepreneurship in the Sisters Blended Value program appeal most to the congregation and why?
  • What kind of skills and knowledge does the congregation hope to gain from the Sisters Blended Value Project?
  • How do you think the Sisters Blended Value Project will enhance the charism of the congregation’s social ministry?
  • How will learning entrepreneurship skills through the Sisters Blended Value program help the congregation achieve its long-term goals? 

You will have to provide short answers to these questions in the application. In addition, we will ask you to list some of your congregation’s existing ministries, so that we can better understand how you can create a social enterprise initiative building upon those. 


You can find the Congregational application for the SBVP here

And we request that you to review all the questions on this form before you begin your discernment process. 

How you choose to engage your Superior and her leadership council is a question best left to you, Sisters, to determine. Every congregation is a little different, so you should discuss this with her. It may be useful to inform her that you will undertake a discernment process and gather information on your congregation’s ministries, and then you will follow up with a meeting with her. After you have shared the results of your discernment conversations, ask her to write a letter to Sr Hellen Bandiho, Secretary General of ACWECA, affirming her desire for this congregation to participate in the SBVP. This letter should also include the names of the three Sisters to participate


You can send this letter to Sr Hellen by emailing it to Sr Celestine ( Please email to Sr Celestine a headshot of each of the participating sisters.

Last modified: Saturday, 1 May 2021, 1:16 PM