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  • The concept of Social Enterprise has been advanced as a solution to the reduction in financial support and aid faced by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and charitable groups.
  • This issue as well as the benefits of operating a social enterprise will be part of the main focus of a two-day Summit scheduled for January 26 & 27 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
  • The summit, which will be the first for Jamaica, is being organized by the Jamaica National (JN) Foundation’s Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI), with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The concept of Social Enterprise has been advanced as a solution to the reduction in financial support and aid faced by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and charitable groups.

This issue as well as the benefits of operating a social enterprise will be part of the main focus of a two-day Summit scheduled for January 26 & 27 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

The summit, which will be the first for Jamaica, is being organized by the Jamaica National (JN) Foundation’s Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI), with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on January 15, General Manager of the JN Foundation, Saffrey Brown, said the SEBI summit will provide a knowledge sharing experience for Jamaica to see best practices in social enterprise and the opportunities for development.

“We know that government and private sector cannot deliver all the solutions. The third sector in Jamaica is extremely active and is something that we must support and make sure that they don’t start to disappear because of lack of funding,” Ms. Brown said.

Social Enterprises are commercial businesses operating to make money, but which re-invest the income generated to help with social missions in their communities. The missions range from creating employment, providing skills training and development to improving infrastructure for schools and communities.

Ms. Brown said the summit will also focus on the importance of creating an enabling environment for social enterprises in Jamaica and developing a platform for these organizations to grow and learn, while getting the buy-in from the wider public. This, she said, is critical in helping to solve some of the issues in the society.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, will deliver the keynote address on day one of the summit, which will also have a presentation from Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive Officer of Social Enterprise in the United Kingdom.

Ms. Brown said Mr. Holbrook will use the summit to explain the Social Value Act passed in the UK Parliament back in 2013 and the impact it has had since being implemented.

“What that really mandated was for government contracts to look at the social impact of the tender and social value, so it was not just about the economic value of this contract, it was also about the social value,” she explained.

In the meantime, Project Manager for SEBI, Jennifer Sharrier, said the summit will provide the public with an opportunity to support a number of the social enterprises in Jamaica by buying products at the marketplace. Approximately 18 booths will be open and accessible on both days.

“We want them to be able to touch and feel other organizations which are social enterprises or which are transitioning to become a social enterprise,” Ms. Sharrier said.

In addition, she pointed out that the summit will educate and empower the NGOs, charitable organizations, community based groups, public and private sectors, students and media about the role that social enterprises can play socially, economically and environmentally.

“We want people to come and use it as a learning exchange, so that when they go back to their businesses, they can start thinking about whether or not they should become a social enterprise,” Ms. Sharrier said.

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