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Project STAR Listed on Jamaica Social Stock Exchange

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February 2024

Manager, Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE), Nora Blake (second right), presents the JSSE Rule Book to Project Director of Project STAR (Social Transformation and Renewal), Saffrey Brown (left), during the ceremony for the listing of Project STAR on the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE), at the offices of the Jamaica Stock Exchange in downtown Kingston, on February 6. Sharing the moment (from second left) are Co-Chair, Project STAR, Keith Duncan and Chairman, JSSE, Professor Neville Ying.


Above Body

 07 Feb 2024    admin   

Project STAR (Social Transformation and Renewal) is now listed on the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE).

The JSSE provides a platform to assist social-sector organisations to attract long-term funding to make their projects sustainable.

Project STAR is a social and economic transformation programme created by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), in partnership with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and driven by communities, to bring about societal transformation through targeted interventions in under-resourced areas of Jamaica.

Speaking at the official listing ceremony, at the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s offices in downtown Kingston on February 6, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, said the ceremony represents a significant milestone for both the JSSE and Project STAR.

“The Jamaica Social Stock Exchange represents an avenue for socially responsible investors, not just people who want to make money but people who want to do well so that they can do good, and that’s really what the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange is about,” he said.

“People interested in contributing and improving the quality of life in Jamaica, and those people are not just in Jamaica; they’re in the diaspora; there are some foreign investors, all kinds of people, but to make sure life is better in Jamaica for all of us, invest in wholesome projects,” Senator Hill noted.

He said the Project STAR initiative was founded on an aspiration to instigate social transformation through focused interventions in under-resourced areas of Jamaica.

Senator Hill said through the programme, more persons will be employed, which will have a significant impact on the country’s low unemployment rate.

“Project STAR is changing communities. We are at 4.2 per cent unemployment, so from the time we hit seven per cent we set a historic target. When we came in it was 13.4 per cent, so at seven per cent we had a historic target [then] 6.5, 6, 4.5 and now 4.2, the lowest in our history. So, we’ve had five or six records of low unemployment,” he said.

He pointed out that the initiative will assist in reducing unemployment rate in the targeted communities.

“Project STAR is vital to make sure we find the young people with brains to make sure they can work in our economy. Project STAR is doing a fantastic job to make sure that becomes a reality to people who normally wouldn’t be looked at,” he said.

The Minister added that the Administration has and will continue to support the Jamaica Stock Exchange, the Junior Stock Exchange and the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange.

Managing Director, Jamaica Stock Exchange, Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, said the historic listing marks the first listing ceremony of the JSSE for the year and its fifth listing to date.

“This is a landmark listing as it represents the first of its kind in Jamaica or anywhere else in the Caribbean and I probably say in the world, coming after the raising of funds through a social public offering. This has certainly been a journey through ideation, collaboration and significant investment by corporate Jamaica and the social sector and is worthy of commendation for all the parties involved,” she said.

She said Project STAR’s listing and their interaction with the JSSE can be a catalyst for more corporate foundations and Jamaicans to access the JSSE’s platform, which is a vehicle to ensure a fair, efficient and transparent mechanism for mobilisation of social capital and building sustainability.

“Project STAR is listing today because of the proper due diligence and approval of the JSSE listing and Standards Committee. I wish to recognise that process, the team and also Project STAR in subjecting itself to the scrutiny of listing. The question will be asked as to what listing means? It means that Project STAR, having successfully raised approximately $14.7 million in the first round of capital raised through the social IPO, and while the project is not fully funded, it will have the opportunity, because it came to market to return to market to access additional capital,” the Managing Director said.

Co-Chair, Project STAR, Keith Duncan, said the initiative has been up and running for over a year and has already delivered its first annual report.

He said governance and transparency are critical to building trust.

“We are not only accountable to the investors who have come on board and supported [but] we’re accountable to wider Jamaica for this project. We are accountable to the communities that Project STAR is targeting and doing work in. The communities are also accountable for the work that they have to deliver, as they have to have ownership of the programmes of Project STAR, because its theirs,” he said.

Mr. Duncan said more than 1,800 citizens have been impacted from the targeted communities, while jobs have been created for approximately 74 persons.

Project STAR is being undertaken over five years in the downtown Kingston communities of Parade and Rose Gardens; May Pen, Clarendon; Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland and Salt Spring, St. James.

It is intended to facilitate the implementation of programmes that will enable communities to become safer and more resilient, with improved social outcomes and reduced levels of violence.

Under the initiative, community transformation Boards are established in the targeted areas, which consist of members of youth clubs, citizen associations and other groups.

Source: JIS 

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