Planning Institute of Jamaica – Community Renewal Programme Local Economic Initiatives Platform
On Friday, November 10, the Devon House South Lawn came alive with vibrant colours with the showcasing of approximately 100 of Jamaica’s most innovative and creative community enterprises; this at the 1st staging of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Community Renewal Programme (CRP) Local Economic Initiative Exposition (LEI), held under the theme “unleashing community enterprises…value chain integration.” The atmosphere was filled with music, laughter, entertainment, and networking among Local Economic Initiatives and patrons alike. According to PIOJ Technical Specialist: Socio-Economic Development and conceptualizer of the event; Charmaine Brimm, for the past three years, as part of PIOJ’s annual Best Practices Symposium in Social and Community Development, provision would always be made to showcase the product and service offerings of community enterprises. Based on the rave reviews from stakeholders, it was decided that more needed to be done to increase exposure of these LEIs by positioning them on a larger platform; this need was also confirmed based on previous needs assessment conducted with the LEIs. Therefore, in keeping with one key strategic area of focus under the CRP to promote entrepreneurship, the event was birthed with the aim of increasing awareness about the product and service offerings of the LEIs among the wider public; sensitizing and building strategic partnership with the business community, such as the JMEA and PSOJ, and through such partnership support community linkages to a sustainable business incubator/enabler network that delivers business services to these early-stage innovation-driven entrepreneurs. In going forward, the CRP aims to deepen capacity building support through business clinics for delivery of entrepreneurship training; and mentorship and apprenticeship support in order to build LEIs business capacity to help them to move along the business growth cycle. Ultimately integrating LEIs in the wider MSME/business value chain.
PIOJ Deputy Director General, Corporate Governance & Management, Kirk Philip, stated that the Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan Goal#3, speaks to Jamaica’s economy being prosperous. He also stated that from a National Development standpoint, we want to ensure that this prosperity is translated at the community/grassroots level, by building community social capital and providing tools to empower residents to develop income-generating and sustainable businesses that will generate wealth, thereby improving their quality of lives. From a Community Renewal standpoint, he said that the PIOJ is seeking to achieve economic self-sufficiency among community residents.
The CRP partners were the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the Social Development Commission SDC, which mobilized the LEIs; LYNK facilitated non-cash transactions; Main Event Entertainment Group, for event services; and the Devon House Marketing and Events team.