Social enterprises urged to be ready for opportunities

Release Date: 
Monday, February 16, 2015
Hon. Anthony Hylton addresses audience at Jamaica's first Social Enterprise Summit

With the advent of the Jamaican Logistics Hub, social entrepreneurs are being encouraged to be in a state of readiness to take advantage of international manufacturing and trade opportunities that will emerge.

Speaking recently at the Social Enterprise Summit at the Jamaica Pegasus, The Hon. Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, said that it was imperative that social enterprises strengthen their business models to become more organised and increase their sustainability and competitive advantage.

“The initiative for Jamaica to become a logistics-centered economy bodes well for social enterprises, especially given the fiscal constraints facing the Government. Indeed, this development will require your continued, and even greater contribution to social causes, such as providing employment, skills training or education; and improving infrastructure for schools or community centres; as well as, providing services for the elderly, young or disabled.”

 

Highlighting the importance of social enterprises to fill gaps that are not adequately serviced by the private sector and government, Minister Hylton said, “The social enterprise model presents an opportunity to buttress non-profit entities, thereby ensuring their sustainability and even the expansion of the services they offer to the community.”

Earl Jarrett, chairman of the JNBS Foundation and general manager, JNBS, said that social enterprises account for a significant part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Jamaica; and that it was now pertinent to assess the contributions they have made collectively to the local economy. He also pointed out that social enterprises have been contributing greater levels of care; and, they provide impetus for a larger movement of volunteerism across Jamaica.

The Social Enterprise Summit was an initiative of the JNBS Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development. More than 200 participants attended the two-day summit, which also featured Jamaica’s social enterprises in the SEBI Marketplace, showcasing the products and services they manufacture and market.

A social enterprise is a business that generates income from the sale of goods and services and uses the profits to solve issues such as: unemployment, homelessness and environmental degradation.

 

A Social Entrepreneur is an individual who establishes a for-profit enterpise with the primary objective of using the profit generated to alleviate a social, cultural or environmental challenge.