The successful Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) has been extended for another two years, thanks to funding from the United States Agency for International Development.
Saffrey Brown, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the initial three-year project was given an extension last December. SEBI’s objectives are to make social enterprises better businesses, create a network for them to flourish, and to improve the public’s awareness of and attitude towards them.
“The newest is to turn SEBI into its own social enterprise so that when the project is finished it is able to continue to provide enabling services and support to the social enterprise sector,” she said.
The application process begins on April 4 and ends on April 22. The original SEBI pioneers launched 15 new products and services, formed 29 micro enterprises, employed more than 130 community members and generated J$37.7 million in revenues. Brown is optimistic that ‘SEBI Two’ will be equally successful.
“We are able to take lessons learned and adapt the project. Going forward, there will be many more opportunities for the ‘open network’,” she said. Brown noted that there are social enterprises that are not necessarily part of objective one, which is the business incubation phase.
“But there will be a lot more training. We’re going to have some great rap sessions that look to address some of the issues that different social enterprises are trying to address,” she said.
“Another big component is that we’re opening up SEBI to social entrepreneurs, so it’s not just groups. It’s individuals who are providing solutions to some of Jamaica’s greatest challenges. It’s really about creating an opportunity for people and groups that have innovative solutions to be able to get out there and now provide those within the market.”
SEBI will be searching for 15 new enterprises or entrepreneurs for objective one (making them better businesses).
Six pioneer SEBI enterprises, namely Superior Craft and More; Breezy Castle Centre (Multicare Foundation); The Source; Cockpit Treats (Ulster Spring Women’s Group); Image Training Centre (Dress For Success Jamaica); and Mustard Seed, will be brought back as they are now in growth phase.
Owners of social enterprises and social entrepreneurs can log on to www.sebijm.com to find out more.