Career & Education

JN Foundation launches Social Enterprise Jamaica

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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JN Foundation has announced the launch of a new organisation, Social Enterprise Jamaica, which it says will facilitate the growth of the social enterprise sector in the country.

Parris Lyew-Ayee, chairman of the JN Foundation, made the announcement at the close-out ceremony of the Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI), a project of the JN Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, last Wednesday.

“With the ending of SEBI, along with the introduction of increased funding opportunities, financial instruments, and business services; as well as the ever growing demand for social enterprises, there is a new gap in the market, and new windows are opening,” he pointed out.

“Therefore, today, we at the JN Foundation are pleased to announce that there will be a new social enterprise supporting the sector to be known as Social Enterprise Jamaica (SEJA).

Lyew-Ayee said that SEJA will be a member-owned enterprise, designed to be economically sustainable without relying on government, corporate or philanthropic assistance for its survival.

The enterprise will serve as a knowledge hub, establish the Buy Social Trade Mark, and operate as a social enterprise innovation hub.

It will also provide space to host events, training sessions, meetings, and co-working and incubation.

Several social enterprises have welcomed the announcement of SEJA.

Randy McClaren, managing director of Bresheh, said he hoped that SEJA will play an advocacy role for social enterprises. “I hope that it will take on as many social enterprises, as possible, to assist to pave the way for us as a sector, to really expand and impact many persons, the planet and, obviously, profitability,” he said.

Tishauna Mullings, founder of Nexx Stepp Educational Services, said she would like see SEJA position social enterprises linked to social capital and to GDP to make an impact in our country, so that everyone can appreciate what social enterprise means.

Turning to the successes achieved by SEBI during the past six years, Opal Whyte, project manager, stated that the project proved that social enterprises can be viable businesses. Through the project, they were able to generate more than $186 million in revenues and employed 500 individuals on both full- and part-time bases.

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