Chairman of the JN Foundation, Parris Lyew-Ayee is encouraging Jamaicans to support the social enterprise sector during the Christmas Season by purchasing authentic Jamaican made gifts.

“I encourage everyone to support our social enterprises by ‘buying social’ this Christmas Season. Without your financial support, these entities cannot grow,” he pointed out as he addressed the ‘Close-out Ceremony’ of the Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI), at the Terra Nova Hotel and Suite in Kingston, recently.

Mr Lyew-Ayee said in the process of selecting gifts for friends and family, persons should consider social enterprises, such as: JAD Binders, which restores books that can be passed down through generations; Superior Craft and More, offering signature furniture pieces; Bresheh, manufacturers of local produced bags, which will make excellent Christmas gifts; Alpha Wear with its trendy clothing line; and Bartley’s All in Wood, among others.

Opal Whyte, project manager of SEBI, echoed a similar message; and, explained that social enterprises are defined as business directly involved in revenue generating activities to address social or environmental challenges
“Without the support of consumers and broad-based stakeholders, the sector will not thrive,” she informed, noting that, “SEBI created a Buy Social Trademark, which provides authenticity and distinction for practitioners; and, the trademark or seal, indicates that the product or services are produced by a social enterprise.”
She stated that the trademark gives the social enterprises “a face,” and there are several social enterprises across the country. These social enterprises include: Deaf Can! Coffee, 360 Recycle, Alpha Wear, Bartleys’ All in Wood, Bresheh, Bunkers Hill Cultural Xperience, Eco-Farms Jamaica, EducaTours JA, JAD Diners;  Petals ‘n’ Roots and Superior Craft & More, among others.

Ms Whyte also called for more proactive partnerships between the private sector and  social enterprises, which she stated will accelerate the further growth of social enterprises.
“Some private sector organisations are already collaborating with social enterprises, as part of their corporate social responsibility. For example, some of the National Baking Company’s trucks are currently wrapped with the ‘Buy Social’ logo. We need more of that type of collaboration  with the private sector,” she encouraged.
SEBI, a project of the JN Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) culminated on December 12, after six years of operation.
The aim of the project was to facilitate and support the growth and development of social enterprises across Jamaica. Under SEBI, some 35 social enterprises were able to generate more than J$186 million in revenues; and employed some 500 persons, on a part time and full time basis.

Dionne Rose l JN Corporate Communications

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