The Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) has received additional funding from USAID allowing it to be extended for another two years. The venture will therefore continue to play a critical role in the development of the sector.
Since its inception, the joint USAID and JN Foundation initiative has guided participants to achieve efficiency and growth, while strengthening the voice and visibility of social enterprises.
Through this extension, 15 additional Social Entrepreneurs and Social Enterprises will be able to benefit from the combined training, consultation and partnership development provided to the SEBI incubator participants. In addition, six of the top performing SEBI Pioneers will have been selected to continue in the programme. Applications are now being invited for submission.
During the past three years, the SEBI Pioneers’ improved management and marketing skills have enhanced their operations, which generated in excess of $37 million in revenue; created 15 new market ready products and services; as well as, employed approximately 130 community members.
“Through SEBI, USAID and the JN Foundation have started the process of integrating the Social Enterprise business model into the psyche and practices of local entrepreneurs and members of the social sector,” Saffrey Brown, General Manager, JN Foundation explained. “However, we acknowledge that more support is needed at this stage, if social enterprises are to engender the change and social impact that they promise.”
Brown added that, “The supplementary funding from USAID has extended the life of the project; and, gives us the opportunity to build on what we started; as well as, to reorient our efforts to achieve greater traction and progress within the projected time frame.”
She also advised that SEBI beneficiaries have been extended to include both “social enterprises” and “social entrepreneurs.”
It should also be noted that: social enterprises are defined as profit-making businesses, which exist to address social needs, such as: unemployment, mental illness or environmental degradation. Whereas,
“Social Entrepreneurs” are defined, as business persons who establish enterprises intended to solve social problems and effect social change. Greater emphasis will be placed on the selection of solutions based start-ups; enterprises that have developed market-ready products and services; and have positive track records for sales.
Within the ensuing months, equal focus will be placed on the provision of resources and support to the wider Social Enterprise network. This will be achieved through a series of initiatives such as the hosting of SEBI rap sessions and the 2017 SEBI Summit and the publication of the SEBI Toolkit among others.