Jamaica’s Social Enterprise Sector Made Significant Gains in 2021
Kingston, December 21, 2021
The Social Enterprise Working Group of the National Policy implementation Committee noted in its December meeting that the social enterprises sector recorded significant gains in policy implementation, productivity initiatives and also direct mentoring and other support. The social enterprise sector represents organisations that have a defined social mission to contribute to solving problems in society, which includes foundations, associations, not-for-profit organisations and co-operatives.
A champion of the sector is the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSE), an initiative of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Managing Director of the JSE, Dr Marlene Street Forrest said, “The development and strengthening of social enterprise ecosystem will provide the overall inclusiveness and access to capital that is needed by those who operate within this sector. The result will be the significantly positive impact on our productivity levels and all other measurements of economic growth and development, including quality of life.” A listing on the social stock exchange showcases an enterprise’s commitment to corporate governance standards, which will improve the attractiveness for equity funding.
Highlighting the gains, chairperson of the Social Enterprise Working Group, Planning Institute of Jamaica Technical Specialist: Socio Economic Development, Charmaine Brimm said, “Approximately $200 million was expended by partners implementing activities supporting the growth and development of the social enterprise eco-system. Activities supported 8 of 13 policy activities laid out in the Medium Small and Micro Enterprise Entrepreneurship policy on Social Value Creation.”
The policy achievements outlined by Miss Brimm include: completion of the Draft Social Enterprise Legal Status Act that was funded by the EU under its Investment Climate Reform project; and also the draft Social Impact Measurement Framework, with support from the Jamaica Stock Exchange-Inter American Development Bank Innovating Social Sector Financing project.
Social enterprises also had moments to shine during the year. The Deaf Can! Coffee shop in Kingston, which provides employment and other opportunities for the deaf community, had its official opening.The Link Your Purpose online career development platform also launched its upgraded services. In January, The Jamaica Social Investment Fund hosted a virtual entrepreneurship expo to further the nurturing of small enterprises under the EU Poverty Reduction Programme (EU PRP). Miss Brimm said that business grants to enterprises totalled $3.9 million.
Ms Brimm also noted the initiatives that supported mentoring and upskilling of professionals working in the social enterprise sector. The Excelsior Community College introduced a course on social entrepreneurship in partnership with the social enterprise, Agency for Inner-City Renewal (AIR). Founder and Managing Director of AIR, Dr Henley Morgan also published his advocacy book, My Trench Town Journey: Lessons in Social Entrepreneurship and Community Transformation for Development Leaders, Policy Makers, Academics and Practitioners. The text is already regarded as reference material for graduate students in the sector. The highlight for professional development was the acceptance of a curriculum for the programme, ‘Certificate in Social Sector Management’ which will be offered by the Jamaica Stock Exchange e-campus. The Jamaica Social Stock Exchange, JSSE, continued to engage investors to support its listed social enterprises, a few of which have met their funding targets.
The Social Enterprise Working Group is a sub-group of the National Policy Implementation Committee, with the responsibility to coordinate and monitor implementation of 13 policy activities as laid out in the MSME and Entrepreneurship policy which focuses on Social Value Creation.
Gwyneth Harold Davidson