By Anais Mangin, Project Manager adelphi
The emergence of the green economy and social and environmental entrepreneurship is now viewed more broadly as a road to economic development. By integrating social and environmental benefits in their business model, entrepreneurs at the grassroots can provide promising solutions to local sustainable development issues, including environmental protection, sustainable resource use, job creation and social equality. Those small-scale social and environmental entrepreneurs have the potential to reduce the vulnerability of many low-income communities to the impacts of climate change and help alleviate poverty within emerging, developing and the least developed nations.
The SEED Initiative, hosted by adelphi and founded by UNDP, UNEP and IUCN, has recently launched the 2014 SEED Awards to support entrepreneurs for sustainable development. The Award is seeking entries from innovative start-up entrepreneurs who aim to generate environmental, social and economic benefits at the local level. It is targeting small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) or non-profit initiatives from emerging and developing countries in the start-up phase and that are based on a partnership approach.
This year up to 55 Awards are made available:
- SEED Africa Awards for enterprises in Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda;
- SEED South Africa Awards for enterprises in South Africa
- SEED Low Carbon Awards for enterprises in Colombia, India, Tanzania, Uganda and Viet Nam;
- SEED Gender Equality Awards for enterprises in all countries that are not OECD or EU members.
Examples of the types of businesses SEED is searching for include, those, which provide tailor made products and services to low-income communities, encourage the participation of women in the workforce, or whom, are run by women. Those, which through their business practice, contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions, promote climate adaptation measures, or reduce local environmental degradation. Other examples include models with energy efficient production processes or eco-friendly supply chain management.
An international jury of experts will select those enterprises which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy. Winners will receive a USD$5000 cash funding, individual business support as well as networking opportunities. They will also be invited to the SEED International Symposium in Kenya where they have the opportunity to present their innovative business model to influential delegates and to share their experiences with experts and other entrepreneurs.
Submission deadline is 8 April 2014, 23:59 CET. To find out more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit the SEED Website.
Since 2005 SEED has provided grants and business assistance to more than 130 social and environmental entrepreneurs in over 36 countries. Winners benefit with direct, tailor made capacity building support and international profiling. SEED also aims to give recognition and to promote the work being undertaken at the local level, and conducts research about the barriers SMEs face and their economic, social and environmental impacts.