The Supreme Ventures Foundation (SVF) has named four small businesses making a big difference in their communities as part of its flagship Supreme Heroes programme.
Supreme Heroes recognises organisations that are pillars of their communities, unsung heroes who are using their limited resources to lend a hand to those in need.
“Supreme Heroes is, chiefly, a capacity-building programme that seeks to identify persons who are already making a difference. So our participants are already doing the most with what little they have, and we see the impact it is having on the community,” Heather Goldson, director of the SVF, told The Gleaner.
The four heroes include an eco-village in the heart of Kingston and a small shopkeeper in western Jamaica who uses the proceeds from her shop to support the youth in her community.
They are Life Yard in Parade Gardens, Kingston; New Horizon Christian Outreach Ministries in Spanish Town, St Catherine; Jennifer Brown of Miss Jenny’s Shop in Norwood, St James; and Elma Thompson of Miss T’s Hardware and Variety Store in Granville, also in St James.
Nominations for the programme opened on October 21 last year and closed a few weeks later, on November 8. A total of 22 nominations were received from the public via phone and online, traditional, and social media. Entries were judged by a panel comprising partners and Supreme Ventures Group staff, who used a wide range of criteria, including relevance, impact and sustainability, and feasibility.
IMPROVING OUTREACH COMPONENTS
Noting that the revenue of these businesses makes outreach possible, a major component of the programme is ensuring that both the outreach and business components are improved through training and capacity building.
“The heroes will be provided with training, resources, and advice on business continuity and sustainability. They have been provided with resources to help with the social outreach that they are conducting for their community over the six months,” said Goldson.
The programme got started in late August, and online training for the Supreme Heroes will begin in October and end in February 2021. The four participants will, among other things, be assisted with the registration of their business and non-profits, financial accounting, and taxation. Risk management and resilience have also been added to the training being offered in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Each Supreme Hero was assessed to determine the needs of their businesses by Change Makers Limited, which is organising the roll-out of the programme with the assistance of the Mona Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Centre.
“We wanted to not only provide additional funding to our heroes but also to strengthen their business capacity. Our partnerships with Change Makers and the Mona Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Centre allows us to provide training and coaching across a number of basic business disciplines from finance to leadership,” Goldson shared.
Samantha Chantrelle, founding director of Change Makers, agrees. She said that she is heartened and inspired by the work and response of the participants.
“We are working steadily with them on building their capacity to deliver more and deliver better,” said Chantrelle.
At the end of the programme, all four beneficiaries should be registered whether as a business or non-governmental organisation or both. They will also have a five-year business plan, inclusive of a comprehensive financial plan, and will be provided with basic hardware, software, and knowledge to improve the operations of their businesses, as well as to streamline their outreach programmes.
The heroes also submitted a social project to be worked on for the duration of the programme.
“The social projects were submitted by each hero and is based on the outreach they currently do in their neighbourhood. They were asked to identify a specific need in their community that, when completed, will have a multiplier effect [for] as many persons as possible,” shared Goldson, noting that the project should be sustainable and have the ability to be replicated once the programme has ended.
The organisation with the best-performing project will receive an additional cash grant.
“The grant will be awarded based on who executed [their] project most efficiently and effectively,” the SVF head stated.