Business, Social Media

‘Social CEOs’ in Jamaica…I found one!

Graphic: Harvard Business Review

Graphic: Harvard Business Review

In fairness there’s more than one. But the other day I was given a challenge to write a social media guide for local CEOs.

This post I published just now isn’t necessarily a guide, but attempts to outline some of the opportunities that are already available. My (brief) interaction with one CEO in particular certainly gives grounds for optimism.

Business, Society

SEBI: purpose plus profit = transforming Jamaica

Saffrey Brown JN, Foundation General Manager SEBI

Saffrey Brown, JN Foundation General Manager

My wife was looking to buy flowers recently for someone struck down by a life-threatening illness when she found a friendly face and the right gift, a cactus, in Petals n’ Roots, a concession inside the HiLo supermarket in Ligunea, St Andrew. On the face of it this was an average transaction, but Petals n’ Roots is anything but your average business – as your purchase helps provide employment opportunities to persons suffering mental illness and donates to MENSANA, a non-profit founded to meet the needs of such persons and their families.

Petals n’ Roots is one of a growing number of social enterprises – their purpose being to create profits to meet social or environmental needs – a ‘third sector’ of the economy thriving in no small way thanks to the efforts of the JN Foundation and USAID’s Social Enterprise Boost Initiative. Continue reading

Business, Environment

Branson Centre entrepreneur turning pig s*** into social good

CaribShare biogas jamaica agriculture

Carol with Lascelles Gabbidon, vice-principal of Westwood High School, a farm participating in the CaribShare project. (Photo: Contributed)

One freezing Toronto February day in 2012, Jamaican Carol Lue was learning about how a company called Zooshare was collecting organic waste from supermarkets and yes, the local zoo, to produce biogas. Fast forward four years and through her social enterprise, CaribShare Biogas, Carol is collecting waste from pig farms and hotels to produce organic fertiliser and clean energy.

Carol is a graduate from the Branson Centre Entrepreneurship in Montego Bay, which has helped produced businesses as varied as One One Cacao and EduFocal. As part of the head start the centre gave her, it also gave her the opportunity to share a stage with Richard Branson in New York. And if that sounds interesting, then you can submit your business idea – but hurry as applications for the latest intake close May 19. [Scroll down to apply]

But as Carol’s experience shows, being an entrepreneur isn’t all glamour. For her it’s about the hard work of pig waste; building a biogas plant; benefitting the environment and giving farmers a helping hand. That and being grounded in 10+ years working for corporations and as a research analyst studying development projects for clients like the World Bank and USAID, until she decided upon her own…

We prepared numerous analysis reports on development problems. Yet, I found that regardless of the country or case in question, the same or similar solutions to sustainable development were prescribed. Although known and well-studied, they, however, were not been implemented in practice at the rate that would truly make a difference. Continue reading