Progress being made in developing social enterprise legislation - Dunn
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr Norman Dunn, addresses the British Council’s Investment Climate Reform (ICR) Facility Project Closeout Ceremony, held on February 3 at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston. (Photo: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Government is moving closer to developing legislation to regulate and guide the social enterprise sector in Jamaica.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr Norman Dunn, said that consultations are being undertaken with the relevant stakeholders to finalise a submission to Cabinet “after which we will continue to robustly pursue its completion through the stages of the legislative process, to its passage”.

Dr Dunn noted that the legislation, when implemented, will allow players in the sector to benefit from many of the incentives now being provided to other businesses in the formal economy.

“Critically, this includes being able to trade on the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) and access financing from capital providers, which has ... traditionally, been very challenging,” he pointed out.

Dr Dunn was addressing the British Council’s Investment Climate Reform (ICR) Facility Project Closeout Ceremony on Friday, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Social enterprise is a mechanism to harness business activity to address social and environmental issues in society.

The sector comprises organisations that have an objective to contribute to societal well-being and includes foundations, associations, not-for-profit organisations and co-operatives.

The Ministry and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), with support from the European Union (EU), are partnering to develop a legal framework for Jamaica’s social enterprise sector.

While noting that the social enterprise concept is not new, Dr Dunn said that its relevance and value are gaining traction locally, regionally and internationally, as investors have expanded the criteria they consider when evaluating investment opportunities to include environmental and social issues.

As such, he contended that a well-developed sector has the potential to make a lasting impact on the economy.

“Environmental, social and governance (ESG) inputs have become part of the conversation for traditional investors. However, there is room for more deliberate interventions from agencies of Government, the financial sector and other entities,” Dr Dunn pointed out.

As such, he said, there is opportunity to strengthen the sector in Jamaica, while achieving alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.

“As we move forward with this crucial initiative, I encourage all our partners to use every available opportunity to sensitise stakeholders about the steps being taken to formalise the social enterprise sector in Jamaica, and the anticipated benefits to businesses, communities and the country,” Dr Dunn said.

The ceremony sought to endorse and highlight the relevance of the social enterprise sector as a contributor to the achievement of the Government’s growth agenda.

Key features of the event included presentations of templates developed and updated to facilitate the social enterprise legislation, findings from the investment readiness market analysis, and impact measurement tools.

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