In a groundbreaking effort to invigorate local economies, the Social Development Commission (SDC) in Jamaica has launched the Economic Village (EV) initiative. This innovative concept provides dedicated spaces for regular community economic fairs, creating a continuous platform for community entrepreneurs and small businesses to showcase their products and services. The impact of the Economic Village concept on several Jamaican parishes have been substantial.
The initiative focuses on establishing consistent and dedicated spaces where individuals, primarily those registered with the SDC’s Local Economic Development Support Programme and listed on its Local Economic Initiatives (LEIs) database, can sell their goods and services. The goal is to provide LEIs with a steady income through these designated business hubs.
SDC’s Local Economic Village at the Cecil Charlton Park, Mandeville Manchester on December 1, 2023.
Seven parishes have enthusiastically embraced the Economic Village concept, establishing dedicated locations in communities. Notable spaces include: Giant Family Mart Car Park in St. Mary, Discovery Bay Community Centre in St. Ann, SDC Complex, in St. Catherine, Cecil Charlton Park in Manchester, Sham Sharp Square in St. James and Falmouth Market in Trelawny. For the period April to December 2023, forty five (45) EVs were activated along with special EVs enhancers events resulting in sales totaling $12,335,978.00.
SDC’s Local Economic Village at the Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, St. James on October 27, 2023.
An up-shot of the Economic Villages are the crucial partnerships established. “Important to note, LEIs receive substantial post-sales as a result of the contacts made, networking and marketing opportunities of their goods and services at these activities.”Avril Ranger, Director of Local Economic Development shared.
The SDC ensures that participating local economic initiatives are compliant with GOJ regulations and goods being sold meet specific standards to include: proper packaging, labeling, quality assurance for agro-based products, and merchants are in possession of valid Food Handlers Permits.
The SDC’s Economic Village concept is positioned as a visionary initiative to revitalize local economies by providing accessible spaces for grassroots based entrepreneurs. Through community engagement, partnerships, and adherence to regulations, this initiative has the potential to drive economic growth and prosperity at the community level. As the Economic Village concept gains momentum, the SDC will continue to unearth and provide business development support services to local entrepreneurs whilst continuing to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic resilience communities in Jamaica.