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  • Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Charities Appeals Tribunal has been submitted to Cabinet for approval.
  • The tribunal, which is being established based on requirements under the Charities Act, will consider appeals from decisions of the Charities Authority.
  • Mr. Hylton, who made the disclosure while addressing the opening of the inaugural Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) Summit 2015 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, on Monday, January 26, said members of the tribunal were selected in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Charities Appeals Tribunal has been submitted to Cabinet for approval.

The tribunal, which is being established based on requirements under the Charities Act, will consider appeals from decisions of the Charities Authority.

Mr. Hylton, who made the disclosure while addressing the opening of the inaugural Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) Summit 2015 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, on Monday, January 26, said members of the tribunal were selected in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

In the meantime, Mr. Hylton said the Government recognises the need to partner with social enterprises to deliver well-needed products and services to the most vulnerable.

The term social enterprise describes a business that reinvests its surpluses into the development of the community, unlike regular companies that often distribute their profits among shareholders.

In a social enterprise, profits are either directed to social causes such as job training for the disabled, ex-offender re-entry, and youth development or are reinvested into the business to create employment opportunities for individuals who are socially marginalized.

Mr. Hylton said social enterprises are an integral part of the wider entrepreneurship eco-system, and play a vital role in the delivery of products and services to communities that are socially disadvantaged.

The Minister said social entrepreneurs often provide solutions which Government and the private sector are unable to deliver effectively.

“Social enterprises can play critical roles and fulfil a number of functions, such as maintaining community buildings or open spaces, or providing services for the community,” he noted.

“Some businesses might also be able to generate profits from selling products created from community assets, such as produce from land allotments or refurbishing old computers,” the Minister added.

For his part, Chairman of the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation, Earl Jarrett, said there is no denying that social enterprises account for a significant part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Jamaica.

“It is important that (this figure) be determined precisely, so that (social enterprises) can be encouraged to grow and to thrive through directed public policy,” he emphasised.

Mr. Jarrett said it is also important that as Jamaica begins to assess the contributions of social enterprises to the local economy that the government and other stakeholders begin to think through the shaping of policies to encourage the growth of these types of organisations.

“Collectively, we can create greater opportunities for the social economy and help to influence policies that will support the growth of the social enterprise sector,” he urged.

For her part, Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Denise Herbol, noted that the social enterprise model is a new and innovative solution that can be used to increase foreign investments to Jamaica.

“Social enterprises are a vital source of a business approach to fair trade, social inclusion, creation of jobs for individuals and groups from marginalised labour markets,” she said.

The two-day summit is being held January 26 to 27 and will bring together the views of experts in the field of social entrepreneurship and enterprise, including representatives of charities, NGOs, community-based groups, as well as the private and public sectors.

Participants will learn about the role that social enterprises play socially, economically, and environmentally as well as assess the contributions of the sector in other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom.

The social enterprise model has found success in several developed regions, including the USA, the United Kingdom, Spain and Europe as a way of addressing the challenges being faced by the global non-profit sector.

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