Schools awarded seed funding for social enterprise projects

Career & Education

Schools awarded seed funding for social enterprise projects

Sunday, June 09, 2019

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T he eight schools in phase two of the British Council's Social Enterprise in Secondary Schools Programme each recently received close to $100,000 in seed funding to kick-start their projects.

The new schools — Cumberland High, Glenmuir High, Guy's Hill High, Herbert Morrison Technical, Holland High, St Jago High, Spot Valley High and Westwood High — join the six that participated in phase one, for a total of 14.

They pitched their social enterprise ideas in a competition earlier this year, for which awards were presented at the seed funding handover back in May.

Montego Bay High took first place with Best Business Idea, with Spot Valley High School and Cumberland High School claiming second and third place, respectively.

Herbert Morrison Technical won the award for Most Scalable Idea — recycling newspaper to create vases. Guys Hill High won the Most Innovative Award for its social enterprise, which recycles fluorescent bulbs into the more energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) light types.

Westwood High will be creating a greenhouse from plastic bottles, while Glenmuir High School will be using plastic bottles as plant-holders for their wellness garden. Greater Portmore High School will delve into the fashion sphere with a T-shirt line that promotes positive thinking; and St Jago High will focus on a line of bags developed from recycled materials. St Elizabeth Technical High created the patel de hierba de limon or lemon grass cake, in addition to a T-shirt line that will focus on anti-bullying messages.

Manager of Victoria Mutual Foundation, Naketa West, was impressed.

“It is always impressive to see the talent of our young people on display. The ideas they've come up with and the innovation behind them are to be applauded. The opportunities they saw in the problems that existed around them is something we are proud of at the Victoria Mutual Foundation. As an added incentive, they are eager to give back to their communities and, by extension, their country. Their efforts should be commended,” she said at the function which was staged at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel.

The British Council explained that the three-year social enterprise programme, which is a partnership with Victoria Mutual Foundation and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, seeks to address school-to-work transition gaps through the teaching of social enterprise concepts and skills.

“It will support students to develop skills that motivate them to consider entrepreneurial solutions to their employment concerns,” the British Council said. “The programme will empower the students to become agents of change by using the concepts taught to them to develop social enterprises with the support of Victoria Mutual Foundation mentors and volunteers in secondary schools and in their communities.”

Using the British Council's Social Enterprise in Schools Resource Pack, the programme will help to bridge the gap in global skills development which is critical to meeting the needs of students in the 21st century in a globalised economy. The programme has also incorporated the British Council's six core skills — critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication, creativity and imagination, citizenship, digital literacy, and student leadership — and added financial literacy as the seventh.

In an overview of the programme, social enterprise and youth engagement programme manager at the British Council, Damion Campbell, hailed the social enterprises and other agencies for their support of the programme.

“The partnerships and networks we have built throughout this programme are critical to us achieving our goal. The Social Enterprise in Secondary Schools programme affords a large population of our young people the opportunity to garner a more global outlook on the prospects of their lives as they transition through high school, while creating change in them and for those around them,” he said.

For her part, British Council country director Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick encouraged the students to take full advantage of the opportunity to make the changes they want to see in their own lives. “You, the young people who are a part of this programme, your accomplishments and your achievements are also a guiding light for young people like yourselves in other countries around the world. Think about the change you want to see in your home, your school and community. Think about what matters to you. These are the questions that will help you to think about how you can bring about change in your environment as you embark on your journey in this pioneering programme.”

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