Business

Does your business create social impact? Leap wants to fund you.

The Leap company Saffrey Suzanne Shaw Brown

The Leap Company’s Saffrey Brown, left and Suzanne Shaw, right.

One minute in Jamaica you can’t get backing for your startup; and now, The Leap Company are promoting a US$30m fund that doesn’t just invest in potentially profitable ventures, but those who can have a positive social impact.

Jamaica is now ready for social impact investment, reckons Leap’s Saffrey Brown. Having spent more than 10 years running the JN Foundation and championing social enterprises, while her business partner Suzanne Shaw chalked up energy and environmental projects for the likes of the European Union (EU), World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IADB); they are confident that now is the right time.

Confident that: A. there are enough good ideas to invest in; B. the local venture capital climate can actually support them; and of course C., that they have the combined skills to make a difference. Continue reading

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Journalism

SlashRoots Foundation X Code for Africa

code for africa africandrones slashroots foundation

Warning: This is not fake news. You are about to read something positive about journalism in 2018.

SlashRoots Foundation and Code for Africa are working together to give local journalists new and exciting digital tools: enabling them to mine data for new stories; to tell those stories in new and visually exciting ways; to allow their audiences to interact; and not just to confront the problem but to provide a solution too.

Read the full post I published on Medium: Code for Africa wants to help Jamaican journalism stay ahead of the times

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Social Good, Social Media

Jamaica becomes first Caribbean country to launch U-Report

There’s a way to change the dialogue about our youth: from what we as adults say is good for them, to what they themselves say – that’s the goal of U-Report. Two years of investigation, finding the budget, planning and development became real when UNICEF Jamaica became the first country in the Caribbean to launch.
 
U-Report allows young persons (aged 13-29) to sign up to receive weekly polls on issues that matter to them. It’s youth-driven: Christopher Harper the project coordinator is himself from that demographic. Meanwhile he has a team of youth advisors from high school age and up.
 
They’ll use Facebook, Twitter; and FLOW (thanks again!) are allowing customers FREE access via SMS. These and more channels TBA will allow the target audience to easily opt-in as U-Reporters to receive and respond to polls.

Jamaica will join other countries worldwide, which have so far recruited more than 5 million U-Reporters. 1,000 U-Reporters have signed up and 44 per cent responded to the first poll. Continue reading

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Journalism

Our Jamaica: Hurt is, a story that needs to be released

our jamaica cecile brown

A decade ago, I was working for a newspaper in Cayman. Among other things, each day I was expected to find a ‘Person of the Day’ for the newspaper front-page. This meant going on the hot road to stop random people and ask, “Can I take your photo and you tell me something about yourself?”

In a small country where you might recognize your neighbor or friend on the cover, it actually started to sell papers. It reached the point when the newspaper got complaints from Caymanians, because, ‘Why is it always Jamaicans?!’ Jamaicans were simply willing.

Our Jamaica’s Cecile Brown had a similar realization. But Cecile has the rare gift of empathy, to get people to really unburden themselves. She knows that, universally, everyday people might welcome the chance to speak — and who doesn’t want to feel like they matter for a minute. Continue reading

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Social Good

Failing to consider real people is always the biggest design fail

Denique Ferguson. Photo: OpenUp

Amen, amen & amen is what I kept thinking while helping SlashRoots’ Denique Ferguson put together this blog post. The amount of times I’ve experienced having to work off only assumptions, often faulty, on numerous projects … I can’t count! A specialist in human-centred design, Denique (that’s her standing in the photo) shared her thoughts from a recent trip to run a workshop in Cape Town, South Africa:

There’s a slow realisation among Jamaican organisations that website/app/insert-technology-of-choice-here “users” are living, breathing human beings. And as our society gets more digital, more is at stake when we don’t make room for humanity in our projects.

Read the post on Medium: Are real people at the heart of your digital agenda?

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