State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Government is committed to driving the growth of social enterprises and enabling entrepreneurs to formalise their operations.
Addressing a Social Return on Investment (SROI) virtual round table recently, Mr. Green noted that social enterprises have long been a feature in Jamaica, with many entrepreneurs operating informal businesses that are serving their communities in various ways.
“Almost everyone that does business in the communities in rural Jamaica has a really strong social focus and ends up pumping a lot of the profit back into the community long before it was termed social enterprises,” he said.
“From a Government perspective we are taking social enterprises seriously,” Mr. Green said, contending that these businesses can move rural areas forward.
“Part of our job is to formalise these social entrepreneurs and …give them opportunities to access the capital that they need to scale up their business and community simultaneously,” he pointed out.
Mr. Green noted that the updated Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Entrepreneurship Policy has a section that focuses on business models that harness social value creation, making it the first time that any entrepreneurial policy was making mention of social enterprises with a framework in place to move the sector forward.
“We are working now on developing an operating criterion, core values and leading up to a legislative framework that someone can go to the Companies Office of Jamaica and register an entity as a social enterprise,” he said.
The virtual round table was a part of a four-day event organised by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) from July 28 to July 31, to strengthen the capacity of social enterprises.
These are businesses that provide goods and services for the purpose of generating income to achieve their social goals, whether to tackle social problems, advance community development, or improve people’s life chances or the environment. All profits are reinvested in the business for the social goal.
The JBDC is the Government’s business development agency that assists in the sustainable creation and growth of MSMEs.