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Juma Ventures: Finalist's Statement

Social Capitalists

Juma Ventures

Juma Ventures (Juma), a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, is a youth development program that uses an innovative "Social Enterprise" approach to support disadvantaged youth in making successful transitions from high school to adulthood. Juma owns and operates a portfolio of small businesses for the purpose of providing meaningful employment and development opportunities to youth from low-income backgrounds. The experience youth receive in these jobs is complemented by services designed to ensure that each youth has the opportunity and resources needed to pursue a path toward reaching their potential. Together, these jobs and support services combine to create a powerful and effective program for helping young adults develop the ability to make positive choices and successfully move forward in their lives: over the past 10 years, Juma has worked with more than 1,500 youth and a majority have moved on to college or more career-directed jobs.

Juma is a highly innovative program for inner-city youth who lack access to the opportunities and resources needed to envision and realize bright futures. The Juma Program starts by selecting promising teens from high schools in San Francisco's very low-income neighborhoods and provides these youth with their first work experience in one of Juma's several small businesses. These "Juma Youth" receive basic job skills training, develop supportive relationships Juma's adult staff, and begin to develop self-confidence and a sense of responsibility. Once they have been successful in their initial term of employment, Juma's staff works with each youth to develop a plan that identifies their individual goals after high school and plans their progress toward achieving them. Most often, these goals involve some sort of post-secondary education, either general college education or schooling that had a more directly vocational purpose. With these goals and plans in place, Juma Youth then get involved with selected programs that are designed to facilitate successful transitions from high school and Juma to college and careers. Juma's Program has received numerous awards over the past decade recognizing our work as a model social enterprise and youth development program.

Since our inception in 1993, Juma has been a pioneer in the growing field of Social Enterprise, a segment of the nonprofit sector where organizations own and run businesses as a vehicle for achieving their social mission objectives and to generate earned income to supplement traditional philanthropic funding. Juma operates these businesses in a "double bottom line" manner, with an emphasis on social returns but with a constant eye toward financial sustainability. Juma was one of the first nonprofits in the US to be awarded a franchise agreement to develop its first small business, a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop in San Francisco. Since then, Juma has developed a portfolio of five businesses, including two Ben & Jerry's shops, a successful concession business at SBC Park (SF Giants baseball) and Candlestick Park (49ers football), a special events catering operation, and a tourist lodge located near Yosemite National Park. Collectively, these businesses generate more than $2 million in revenue and create more than 200 meaningful employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth each year.

While employment has always been the core service in the Juma Program, Juma's experience over the past decade has demonstrated that teens make the most significant progress when their on-the-job experience is complemented by services that are specifically designed to support youth in their transition from high school to adulthood. Over the years, Juma has experimented with a variety of youth development services; today, Juma's youth services include programs that facilitate the transition to post-secondary education and careers.

As we enter Juma's second decade, our vision for the future of Juma's work involves further enhancing the effectiveness of our current youth development activities and expanding our impact on youth in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. In recent years we have been exploring different models for developing new social enterprises that have the potential to take Juma's work to the next level of scale. In 2001, Juma developed an innovative social enterprise incubator, through which we have evaluated more than 50 new social-purpose business opportunities and launched 3 new social enterprise ventures that employ and serve Juma Youth. Currently, we are developing plans for several potential social enterprise ventures, including one that will leverage Juma's experience with our concession business at SBC Park and create a model that can be replicated nationally.

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The above information was provided by the profiled organization.