• Feature
    Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Managing Director, Marlene Street Forrest.
    Photo: Rudranath Fraser

    Story Highlights

    • An intensive marketing and promotions campaign is under way to heighten public awareness about the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE).
    • The JSSE, which was launched in January by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is an initiative of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).
    • It is intended to facilitate funding support, through public donations, for organisations involved in the implementation of social programmes for the society’s most vulnerable and marginalised citizens.

    An intensive marketing and promotions campaign is under way to heighten public awareness about the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE).

    The JSSE, which was launched in January by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is an initiative of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

    It is intended to facilitate funding support, through public donations, for organisations involved in the implementation of social programmes for the society’s most vulnerable and marginalised citizens.

    JSE Managing Director, Marlene Street Forrest, tells JIS News that the marketing campaign will incorporate the use of traditional media, both electronic and print; social media; events, and direct marketing.

    Members of the Jamaican Diaspora in North America, the United Kingdom, among other areas, are being targeted as part of the effort.

    The JSE will be showcasing the JSSE at the Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which is under way at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

    Mrs. Street Forest says the conference provides an opportunity for members of the diaspora “to see and understand what the social stock exchange entails, by meeting representatives of the selected participating organisations. We will also invite them to view projects that have been uploaded on our platform – jsse.jamstockex.com”.

    The biennial conference ends on June 20.

    Already, the first five of over 20 applicants under the JSSE’s Jamaica Social Investment Market (JSIM), have been approved.

    The JSIM, one of the JSSE’s two components, facilitates funding support for social enterprises through donations, once entities have met the stipulated criteria.

    The other component, the Jamaica Social Impact Investment (JSII), will enable the public to invest in the entities through share offers, allowing them to generate capital to finance their operations. This aspect is awaiting the passage of the relevant regulations to facilitate its operation.

    Entities that have already been approved for funding are the Agency for Inner-city Renewal (AIR), which undertakes interventions to address unemployment and challenges facing young people; Choose Life Jamaica, which provides counselling and other support to prevent suicides; DeafCan, which facilitates productive engagements for members of the deaf community; Praise Jamaica, which provides support for youngsters in school; and Alpha School of Music.

    The JSE Managing Director says the entities were shortlisted following the first of three selection rounds, scheduled this year, to review applications.

    She explains that the process is being conducted by a Listing and Selection Committee, comprising representatives of the public and private sectors, and other social enterprises.

    They are slated to meet shortly to examine the remaining applications as well as new ones during the second round of reviews.

    Mrs. Street Forest explains that applicants must be registered charitable organisations; provide financial statements, such as balance sheets, ideally undergoing external audit; provide executive summaries on programmes to be funded, the sum being sought, and the likely extent of the programmes’ social impact and sustainability; and the principal parties, who will monitor and manage the projects.

    These criteria, she further tells JIS News, will put entities in a good position to transition to the JSII, should they opt to list.

    Mrs. Street Forest says that in addition to facilitating uploading and viewing of the social enterprise projects, the interactive jsse.jamstockex.com platform is configured to accommodate online donations.

    “Donors are able to look at the various projects that have been selected and approved for funding and make their contribution. The minimum contribution is US$20 or approximately $2.500… not a lot of money… [but] just to ensure that these social projects and programmes can get off the ground,” she points out.

    Mrs. Street Forrest tells JIS News that entities desirous of listing must raise at least 80 per cent of the financing being sought for the projects/programmes being undertaken.

    She says the initial five entities selected were required to raise the funding within 90 to 120 days of their project/programme listing in February, enabling them to be accommodated on the JSIM platform for two years.

    Mrs. Street Forrest notes, however, that while all of them have attracted support, “the donations are not [forthcoming] as fast as we expected”.

    “So, we are looking at this development and seeing where we might have to extend that [timeline], in order to get that traction and get them over the hump,” she says, hence the decision to embark on the marketing campaign.