Some 10 entities engaged in social enterprise activities have been identified for support under the Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI), being jointly implemented by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, and Jamaica National Foundation.
Social enterprises are organisations that incorporate business principles and strategies to maximise social and environmental development, as against pursuing profit maximisation for shareholders.
State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who made the announcement during her 2013/14 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House on June 25, said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project aims to facilitate and support the growth and development of social enterprises across Jamaica.
She explained that the SEBI business development programme is designed to: build the capacity of social enterprises to achieve financial sustainability and increased social impact; enable these organisations to improve their business skills and expertise; and strengthen their business efficiencies through training and development, and networking opportunities.
“These (10) businesses/organisations have (already) been identified as making a meaningful contribution to individuals, communities and consequently, to Jamaica’s development,” she informed, pointing out that they were selected based on their response to general invitations from the Ministry for application submissions for SEBI support.
Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams said the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) will work with the entities to “transform” them into efficient, competitive and profitable businesses.
In addition to these inputs, she said the Ministry also has a Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) programme in place to lend support to those stakeholders. The State Minister informed that the SBDC model was developed in the United States based on the important role that small businesses are deemed to play in economic development.
Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams explained that SBDCs provide a range of intervention services to clients including management training and capacity building; business start-up and formalisation; business plans and financial forecasting; capital access; and innovation and technology.
Against this background, she said the SBDC model has been adapted in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries in order to “develop our micro, small and medium-size enterprise (MSME) sector.”
“We (in Jamaica) have already completed the training of trainers under the programme and are convinced that this programme will greatly assist in the entrepreneurial building process,” Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams added.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh