It was electric! The level of anticipation from participants could be felt as representatives from various NGO’s across Trinidad and Tobago entered the conference room at the Hyatt Regency for our 2017 T&T NGO Professionals Seminar themed ‘Social Entrepreneurship for NGO’s’.
The seminar took a daring start as Mr. Joseph Fernandes of the JB Fernandes Memorial Trust II challenged NGOs to have a “game changing impact” to improve the society we live in during his Opening Remarks.
The first Speaker Address by Social Entrepreneur, Mrs. Harvey-Mitchell of the We say Y.E.S. Organization outlined her organization’s journey from idea to implementation. Her vivacious discussion provided some firsthand insight into the drive and challenges faced in the development and maintenance of her NGO.
Mrs. Harvey-Mitchell emphasized that budgeting and continuous collaboration with the individuals, groups, and organizations such as the T&T Police Service, and corporate T&T are key strategies in maintaining the programs of the We Say Y.E.S. Organization.
An engaging and extensive Speaker Address entitled ‘The Road Map to Social Entrepreneurship’ by Ms. Tanushree Luthra, the General Manager of Norish TT connected the dots between the concept pursuing an innovative and practical idea that seeks to drive social change with an entrepreneurial zeal supported by sustainable business methods and the courage to overcome traditional NGO practices.
Albeit there is no standard definition, Ms. Luthra presented attendees with an enhanced understanding of the mechanisms, opportunities, and challenges of Social Entrepreneurship. Her contribution left many with the burning question “Is my NGO willing to take the plunge into Social Entrepreneurship?”
The Deep Dive Workshops which focused on Social Media Marketing, Brand Storytelling, Grant Proposal Writing, and Finance took a life of their own. They provided a plethora of usable content on the relevant topics, to keep NGO’s up-to-date with the latest changes that are occurring within the industry. Presenters also worked with attendees and addressed their concerns which proliferated the takeaway lessons for the seminar.
The Interactive Open Forum and Grantmakers Q&A session generated a lot of discussion surrounding the criteria for funding, fostering relationships between funders and NGOs among other key issues. It featured well-rounded panel of policy makers, financers, and NGO professionals with lively dialog that drove home the need for NGO transparency to facilitate the support of corporate T&T.
A special presentation was made to the Animal Welfare Network for their unrelenting dedication towards creating a stray free country, where animals are treated with love and respect. Be sure to check out the amazing work the AWN continues to do on a daily basis https://www.facebook.com/AnimalWelfareNetwork/
One of our major highlights and memorable moments was the announcement of the 2017 winner of the JB Fernandes Award for NGO Excellence. This year, we were honored to present this prestigious award to the Caribbean Kids and Families Therapy Organization (CKFTO).
CKFTO works to provide affordable, professional and empathetic therapeutic services to children ages birth to twenty-one with special needs; to provide support and empowerment to families of children with special needs and to educate and involve the community of Trinidad and Tobago in creating an open and caring society for all persons with special needs. Be sure to support the CKFTO https://www.facebook.com/ckfto.org/
Our intense and interactive agenda culminated with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and networking. Attendees had a wonderful time connecting and we hope the relationships forged will last a lifetime as collaboration is key to NGO success.
Finally, having paved the road to understanding and implementing a social entrepreneurial approach, we hope as game changers, your NGO is open to delving into addressing its feasibility and subsequent implementation. Are you ready to take the first step?