Shaw endorses proposed Jamaica social stock exchange

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, has endorsed the proposed establishment of the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange [JSSE].

This is being initiated by the Jamaica Stock Exchange [JSE] as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The endeavour aims to create a platform that lists the country's social enterprises and not-for-profit entities and their projects, designed to assist the society's most vulnerable and less fortunate citizens, for capitalisation by donor investors.

“This is a truly commendable step as we move into a greater recognition, world over, of non-financial factors, such as socio-cultural and environmental factors and their impacts on the bottom lines of companies. Any form of development that has at its core, the strengthening of our greatest asset - our people - cannot fail,” the minister said.

His remarks were delivered by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Fayval Williams, during a JSSE stakeholder sensitisation luncheon hosted by the JSE at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew, on Friday.

Shaw said the JSE's undertaking reflects an acknowledgment of a “new and evolving” business model, characterised by an increasing number of entrepreneurs employing more creative and innovative business methods to tackle social and environmental challenges.

He argued that regardless of the entities' structures, whether profit-based or not-for-profit, entrepreneurial solutions are offering engagement in areas where “that was once a mere thought”, adding that “we must encourage this trend”.

Shaw said the ministry notes this development with “great interest” and, in this regard, has revised the Micro, Small and Medium-size Enterprise (MSME) and Entrepreneurship Policy, “bearing in mind strategies that support the development and formalisation of the social enterprise sector”.

He added that the ministry's MSME Division now has a specific mandate to provide recommendations that will advance the legal framework for these enterprises.

This process, he further stated, is being facilitated through the Social Enterprise Technical Working Group, a sub-group of the MSME National Policy Implementation Committee.

“As we work together to support national growth, I applaud the JSE for its initiative to create the space for the growth of these social enterprises and urge our financial sector to take up the offerings that will come,” Shaw said.

He further emphasised that the objective of reaching out to assist persons deemed the society's most vulnerable “should bear all [of] our collective interest”.

“As a Government, we will continue to increase our efforts to provide robust support to our social enterprises, recognising their propensity to solve social, cultural, economic and environmental problems, and promote nation building,” Shaw added.

In her remarks, JSE Managing Director, Marlene Street Forrest, said the Social Stock Exchange aims to assist Jamaica achieve the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda.

The SDGs seek to eradicate poverty and attain sustainable development globally within 12 years, by ensuring that no one is left behind.

“We will, through the JSSE, focus on people, prosperity and partnership to assist in achieving this goal,” Street Forrest said.

The Jamaica Social Stock Exchange is slated to be launched during the JSE's 14th annual Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, from January 22 to 24, 2019.

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