Following the successful generation of revenues to the tune of $37 million, the USAID in partnership with JN Foundation is hoping to provide training to another 15 social enterprises under its Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI).
The three-year-old programme – which is currently processing applications for its second staging – seeks to assist in the development and technical capacity-building of existing and potential enterprises and individuals that are committed to the development and sustainability of the social and economic well-being of communities, groups and individuals.
So far, a total of 10 social enterprises, including Caribbean Community for Retired Persons (CCRP), Mustard Seed Communities, Dress for Success, Network of Women for Food Security, and Superior Crafts and More have benefited from US$1 million ($113 million) worth of technical and business development support under SEBI.
USAID has since pumped additional funds into the programme allowing it to be extended for another two years. 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.
SEBI Pioneers’ improved management and marketing skills have enhanced each participant’s 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.
The venture therefore continues to play a critical role in the development of the sector.
“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,” stated general manager of JN Foundation, Saffrey Brown.
“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. 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 continued.
SEBI defines social enterprises as profit-making businesses which exist to address social needs such as unemployment, mental illness or environmental degradation. Social entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are business persons who establish enterprises intended to solve social problems and effect social change.
In selecting the candidates, greater emphasis will be placed on solution-based start-ups, enterprises that have developed market-ready products and services, and have positive track records for sales.
Within the ensuing months, SEBI will place equal focus 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 rap sessions and the 2017 SEBI Summit, an event geared at showcasing the work of the participants.