Sunday 8 December, 2019

Gov’t looking to boost social enterprise stakeholder engagement

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, says the Government is looking to spur greater collective stakeholder involvement in social enterprise, particularly by well-thinking Jamaicans engaged in business.

In so doing, he says, they will be well-positioned to assist in identifying solutions to some of the society’s challenges and addressing these.

The State Minister was speaking at the National Social Enterprise Forum at the Mandeville Hotel in Manchester recently.

Mr Green noted that the Ministry recognises the importance of the social enterprise sector in value creation and cohesion, and has taken steps to ensure its incorporation in government policies.

“We have an updated MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy that was brought to the fore in 2018, and one of the critical parts of it is a chapter [on] social value created through business models.

That has triggered greater energy and focus on social enterprise,” he pointed out.

The State Minister also referenced a 2015 research which shows that social enterprises are important contributors to the local economy. The data indicated that of 100 such enterprises researched, 767 jobs were created benefiting some 466 females and 278 youths.

“One of the things we are picking up is that social enterprises engage many more women and young people and that is why we want to provide more focus on and support for social enterprise,” he further said.

Noting challenges encountered by social enterprises in their engagements, Mr Green encouraged stakeholders to indicate ways in which the Ministry can assist them, in terms of strengthening business models around these.

“We want to see more Jamaicans transform and form enterprises and be able to transform viable ideas into solid businesses that produce high-quality goods and services for the market. The Ministry is committed to this task,” he underscored.

Meanwhile, Senior Research Fellow at the Mona School of Business and Management, Dr Indianna Minto-Coy, said the sector’s development has been making steady strides over the past 10 years, citing multi-stakeholder collaborations that have spurred this out-turn.

Among these, she said, are the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), the British Council, and the Mona School of Entrepreneurship (now the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Thinking Practices).

“I want [to also] recognise practitioners and champions of social change, in particular, those who are running successful operations of social enterprises such as Def Cam, 360 Recycle, Educators, Mustard Seed, Agency For Inner-city Renewal, the Alpha School of Music, and Choose Life International.” Dr Minto-Coy stated.

The series of forums, which began in Kingston in October, will end in Montego Bay in December.

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