KINGSTON — The Institute for Social Entrepreneurship and Equity (I-SEE) will host its inaugural Social Entrepreneurship Conference and Awards Ceremony, on Thursday, November 24, on the New Kingston campus of the University College of the Caribbean (UCC).
The conference, which will be under the patronage of the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, is being staged in partnership with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and seeks to highlight the role of social entrepreneurship in tackling societal issues.
Launched Tuesday (November 15) at the UCC campus, the event is part of activities to mark National Entrepreneurship Week, which will be observed from November 20 to 24.
Director of I-SEE, Dr. Michael Rosberg, explained that social entrepreneurship uses business thinking and strategies to resolve complex socio-economic problems, such as unequal distribution of wealth, low participation in the economy, poverty and crime and violence.
He noted that conference organisers will consider the Hon. Prime Minister Andrew Holness' call for an end to garrison politics, by looking at opportunities for wealth creation.
"Our speakers will analyse Jamaica's aging political patronage system, in such a manner as to reveal simple and immediate ways that individual companies and, indeed, the Government of Jamaica can support profit-taking now, so as to bring about national transformation,” he said.
President of the UCC, Winston Adams, said he was delighted that the institution was able to “seize the opportunity to be a part of this noble initiative by I-SEE and its affiliates."
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, congratulated the organizers, noting that the Government fully endorses the work of the I-SEE and the UCC in promoting social entrepreneurship.
He noted that while the environment may not be as competitive for commercial businesses, it is full of opportunities for social enterprises, and pointed to the need for more social entrepreneurs.
He advised persons to find a basic or primary school near their home and offer to provide one hour voluntary service per week, assisting under-performing children with remedial support “such as training them, teaching them how to read”, and instill in them the key core values of honesty and respect.
To be held under the theme, ‘You can do good by doing well: the role of social entrepreneurship in community transformation’, the conference will feature a panel discussion chaired by Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson.
Representatives from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and People’s National Party (PNP) will also participate. It will culminate with individuals being honoured with the Social Entrepreneurship Trail Blazer Award, and the Social Entrepreneurship Excellence Award.
Launched earlier this year, the I-SEE is a subsidiary of the Agency for Inner City Renewal (AIR), and operates at the UCC, offering a Masters degree in social entrepreneurship.
Established in 2006 by Dr. Henley Morgan, AIR is a faith-based, non-profit Non-Government Organisation primarily focusing on youth empowerment through training and development courses, scholarship, job placements and mentorships, as well as peace brokering and micro business enhancement. Persons wishing to register for the conference may contact AIR at 967-1123 or 967-1119.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter