Plates from Fallen Leaves, Bricks from Plastic Waste and Sight Saving Mobile Apps – Green Innovation Highlighted at 2015 SEED Awards
Nairobi, 9 September 2015 – As the world gears up to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) later this month, 27 trailblazing eco-enterprises are recognized at the 2015 SEED Africa Symposium in Nairobi for employing business models that bring social and environmental benefits to local communities, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.
The SEED Awards recognize innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises whose businesses help to meet sustainable development challenges. By helping them to scale-up their activities SEED aims to boost local economies and tackle poverty, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.
2015 SEED Awards Honour African and Women-Led Enterprises
The 2015 SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa, with 25 Awards given to enterprises in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. A further 2 SEED Gender Equality Awards go to women-led enterprises that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as their core objectives.
In addition to a financial contribution, every SEED Award Winner will receive technical assistance, free access to different supporting institutions, and tailor-made support to develop their business and skills. They will also join a network of more than 200 enterprises that have received the award so far.
From distributing solar energy solutions through women-led networks in Namibia to using mobile phones for remote eye diagnosis in Southern Africa, to building houses from bricks made of waste plastic – this year's awardees have demonstrated how renewable energy and new technologies can drive community-led sustainable development.
The 2015 call for applications saw contributions from 55 countries, representing the collaborative efforts of partnerships between enterprises, non-governmental organisations, women’s and youth groups, labour organizations, public authorities, international agencies, and academia. Most of the applications were in agricultural and rural development, energy and climate change, and ecosystem management. Many entries at the same time involved IT applications, and education and training.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the awards, and the 202 inspirational enterprises who have received it over the past decade, a special recognition was presented to one of the previous winners. Chosen in an online vote by more than 5,500 people, Tambul Leaf Plates from India was honoured for producing and marketing biodegradable disposable dinnerware from the fallen sheath of the arecanut plant, reducing plastic waste pollution and creating a value chain on the basis on an abundant natural resource. Read more...
Honouring this decade of partnerships, learning and growing in social and environmental entrepreneurship, SEED published its 10 Year Flagship Report titled “Turning Ideas into Impact: Setting the Stage for the next 10 Years of Green and Inclusive Growth through Entrepreneurship” at the SEED Africa Symposium. It tells SEED’s story, explains its multi-level areas of intervention and theory of change, and highlights the key lessons SEED wants to share from its experience.
The International Awards Ceremony is a highlight of the SEED Africa Symposium 2015, which is bringing together around 500 entrepreneurs and business people, policymakers, and representatives from civil society and support institutions from across Africa and beyond, around the theme “Building Bridges for Impact: Green and Inclusive Growth through Entrepreneurship”.
Representatives of the SEED Partners said about the SEED Winners:
The winners of this year's SEED Awards are mapping the road toward a sustainable future, and signposting the way to a fully fledged green economy. Innovative enterprises like theirs demonstrate the tangible benefits of a low-carbon, resource-efficient approach to economic growth to communities, investors and partners. Their work exemplifies the green economy transition that will help realize the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate agenda to be agreed on this year.
- Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General, UNEP Executive Director -
Across the African continent, local enterprises are tackling extreme poverty, environmental degradation, and social exclusion. The 2015 SEED Winners are examples of what can happen when local ingenuity meets innovative partnerships. They offer a new, powerful paradigm for sustainable development and green growth based on community empowerment and the collective will for social change.
- Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator -
For the past 10 years, the SEED Awards have showcased the very best of the green and social entrepreneurial spirit which is found at the grassroots in developing countries and emerging economies. The 2015 Winners again show resoundingly the resourcefulness and innovative spirit that abounds in these small enterprises and that we want, through SEED and its Partners, to encourage and help to grow.
- Inger Andersen, Director General IUCN -
The striking number of women-led enterprises represented in this year’s SEED Awards underlines their rich potential to mitigate climate change and improve social and economic standards. I am especially delighted to see Kidogo’s positive and replicable solution to relieve promising young women of child care even in fragile situations, so children and mothers can learn and thrive. Imaginative and practical networks like these support both the community and the economy.
- Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women -