Sunday 22 September, 2019

Environmental economist, social innovator launch start-up

Saffrey Brown (left) and Dr Suzanne Shaw informed about Leap Co.  at a recent event.

Saffrey Brown (left) and Dr Suzanne Shaw informed about Leap Co. at a recent event.

Sustainable energy expert, Dr. Suzanne Shaw and social development innovator, Saffrey Brown have teamed up to form start-up company, The Leap Co.

Incorporated in 2018, the Kingston, Jamaica based company will develop and invest in scalable ventures built on profitable models that deliver solutions to environmental, social and economic challenges.

Shaw, Leap’s Chief Executive Officer and head of Impact Investment, revealed that the company, through its Impact Investment Fund, will invest in businesses that demonstrate the potential to provide positive social or environmental impact and create real value for the economy, while delivering solid financial returns.

“We will also be working with entrepreneurs to co-develop and scale their businesses to achieve returns commensurate with risk adjusted market rates while at the same time providing strategic advice on how to structure and optimize impact within the business model,” Shaw explained.

Dr. Suzanne Shaw making a presentation at the 360 Recycing Business Symposium on June 5 at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston.

She said the company has partnered with JN Fund Managers for the Fund, which will use innovative financial instruments to provide capital investments in start-up, early and growth stage businesses.

The level of investment will range from US$200,000 to US$3 million, depending on the size and stage of the business. The initial four sectors that will be targeted are: renewable energy/energy efficiency, climate smart agriculture, sustainable infrastructure and circular economy (which

Brown, a former general manager of the JN Foundation, whose role is chief executive officer of subsidiary, Leap Forward, a non-profit company of The Leap Co., said that the subsidiary will use incubation, acceleration and ideation to identify, support, test and pilot new solutions to social, environmental and economic challenges.

“A Leap Forwardwill train and build the capacity of entrepreneurs, businesses and organisations seeking to implement inclusive and market-driven solutions to identified challenges,” she informed.

Brown added that the vision of A Leap Forward is to achieve a sustainable and inclusive world through people, planet and profit.

Meanwhile, the partners have a combined 40 years’ experience in their fields of specialty.  Shaw has 17 years' international experience in the clean energy and transport sectors, with a wealth of knowledge in the economic and financial analysis of clean technologies and  in the development of economic and environmental metrics to assess businesses’ impact. She has worked at the European Commission and with the Caribbean Policy Research Institute in Jamaica to shape energy and environmental policy in Europe and the Caribbean.

Brown has decades  experience in regional and international development work and community based initiatives. She has designed and implemented successful social enterprises and social enterprise incubators and is credited as being the architect of the social enterprise ecosystem in Jamaica.

Brown is expecting The Leap Co. as well as its subsidiary, A Leap Forward to break with conventionality and operate from “outside the box”.

“We intend to drive impact business to become the leading business model in the region. We are confident that The Leap Companies are workable and will attract investors and partners and delivered essential opportunities for entrepreneurs and the region as a whole,” she said.

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