Eight Social Enterprises Generate Income of $37 Million

Release Date: 
Monday, October 5, 2015

Revenue of more than $37 million has been realised by eight social enterprises across the island, which have benefited from a capacity-building project initiated by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Foundation.

This income was generated over the life of the three-year project, dubbed the ‘Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI)’.

Implemented in 2013 in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SEBI’s objectives were to assist social enterprises to become efficient and effective businesses; create an enabling environment for them to operate; and to heighten awareness and generate support for these groups.

At a closing ceremony and luncheon held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (October 1), SEBI Project Manager, Jennifer Sharrier, informed that 50 per cent of the targeted enterprises are now making a profit.

She noted that the beneficiaries were successfully guided on a path to sustainability through the introduction of best practices for their operations, including the development and implementation of business plans.

Ms. Sharrier pointed out that through the project, 720 community members were impacted by personal development programmes; at least 130 community members have been employed through the intervention of the social enterprises; and more than 29 enterprises have been formed.

State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who addressed the function, said she was “blown away” by the success stories of the beneficiaries.

She congratulated the partners for having the vision to initiate the project, noting that she was impressed by its thoroughness, and far-reaching impact on the communities.

“So many times, projects are started and you can’t see what has happened, where has the money gone, what is the progress…but in this project, I can see tangible results and it is something that I think is a model for the entire Jamaica to follow,” she said.

In her remarks, Mission Director, USAID, Denise A. Herbol, said her organisation’s partnership with the JNBS Foundation on the SEBI project, was in recognition of the importance of social enterprises to the growth of the nation.

Ms. Herbol said she is heartened that despite the challenges faced, the groups were able to make many positive changes through the programme.

“These groups have become more marketable through an improved profile and confidence. The impact stretches well beyond the scope of their enterprises, influencing families and communities and for the first time, these groups have a voice and their opinions are heard and they matter,” she said.

For his part, General Manager, JNBS and Chairman, JNBS Foundation, Earl Jarrett, said he was proud of the project, which was implemented “to make a tangible and meaningful impact on the lives of Jamaicans in various communities across the island”.

“SEBI has given identity to people…(who) are now able to use not what they have physically, but what they have in their heads to create an idea and to make that idea real and to create jobs, to master a brand, and to…generate profit,” he said.

A social enterprise is a business that sells products or services for the sole purpose of generating income to achieve its social goals. All profits are reinvested in the business or the social mission.

The organisations which have directly benefited from SEBI’s guidance and intervention are: Network of Women; Mustard Seed Communities; Dress for Success; Grotto Juice Company; MultiCare Foundation; Ulster Spring Women’s Group; The Source; and Superior Crafts and More.



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.