SEED: 2023 Highlights
In the year 2023 SEED has continued to advocate for eco-inclusive small and medium enterprises (SMEs) worldwide.
We have been hard at work supporting SMEs and promoting their crucial role in advancing sustainable and eco-friendly future, as well as fostering the transition to a circular economy. We are delighted to share some of our most meaningful achievements and activities, as we reflect on the passing year.
Advocacy and Cooperation in High-Level Events
In our efforts of promoting green entrepreneurship and emphasising the vital role of SMEs in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SEED actively participated in key high-level events throughout the year. As part of the preparatory process for the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2023, SEED contributed to the United Nations Regional Consultation for the Arab Region in Doha, Qatar, from January 23-25, 2023. Additionally, from February 8-10, 2023, SEED played a role in the United Nations Regional 3R and Circular Economy Forum in Asia and the Pacific, held in Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia. During these events, SEED contributed to two plenary sessions.
SEED also organised and hosted three side events at prominent global conferences, including "Jobs Redesigned: Exploring Circular Economy Solutions in the Private Sector" at the World Resource Forum 2023 on September 6th, "Agrifood Transformation for the SDGs: Innovations and SMEs as the Gamechangers" at the UN Food Systems Summit +2 in Rome, Italy, on July 26th, and "Eco-inclusive SMEs Facilitating Transformative Change for Nature, Climate, Circular- and Agrifood-Systems" at the UN High Level Political Forum in New York, United States, on July 13th. These events were attended by both SEED and SEED-supported enterprises. Notably, SEED and Circular Economy Catalyst announced the winners of the 2023 Green Entrepreneurship Awards at the UN High-Level Political Forum in New York, featuring panel sessions with previous awardees.
SEED has been also very active at COP28, organising 3 events, co-organising a 4th one, and contributing as to the panel of 4 other events. All had a common aim: advocating for the pivotal role of SMEs as gamechangers in the transition to circular and low-carbon economies.
Activities in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Uganda, Ghana & South Africa
SEED's impact extended to various countries, including Ghana, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, and Uganda, where we successfully implemented Incubation Programmes financially supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection.
The SEED Replicator Programme supported aspiring entrepreneurs to build an eco-inclusive business model with the following sectoral approach across the six countries: Circular Economy and Digital Solutions for Sustainable Development. This garnered especially high interest from the participants in India and Uganda, where the workshops were implemented in second tier cities. Both workshops successfully accommodated a substantial share of female participants – an essential aspect of our commitment to diversity and equality. In addition, SEED Award Winners and Runners-up held a session at the workshops in order to network and deepen their knowledge and ability to cooperate in the future. Hence, aspiring entrepreneurs had the chance to personally exchange with already successful eco-inclusive entrepreneurs like Regenize, EAT Africa, AfriLeap, YVL-YKMA, City Waste, WASHKing.
This year, the SEED Starter Programme also continued to guide early stage enterprises through the ideation and generation of a viable business plan with the aim to launch an eco-inclusive enterprise. In Uganda and Ghana, most participating teams presented business models in the agricultural sector, which revealed how crucial it is for these countries.
Supporting SMEs in Botswana, Malawi & Zambia
In 2023 SEED Climate Adaptation Awards celebrated 3 Winners and 15 Runner Ups each in Botswana, Malawi and Zambia. These enterprises were recognised for presenting highly influential eco-inclusive business ideas, earning them participation in the Accelerator and Catalyser Programmes. Following the award announcements in August, SEED kicked-off its Accelerator and Catalyser workshops in collaboration with Umodzi Consulting (Malawi) and Klyn Consulting (Zambia) to provide enterprise support for the recipients.
In May, in conjunction with the with BioFA Launch, SEED hosted the Practitioner Labs for Green Finance. In Zambia, SEED has been supporting eco-inclusive enterprises through the SEED Catalyser and the SEED Accelerator programmes since 2018. From 2021 SEED has been awarding and supporting eco-inclusive enterprises that actively contribute to building the climate resilience of local communities.
In August, SEED conducted TVET Training of Trainers in Malawi to enable local business development services to provide even better support to local innovative eco-inclusive enterprises. Participants included Lilongwe Technical College, Don Bosco Youth Institute, Namitete Technical College, MACOHA Lilongwe Vocational Training Centre, There is Hope, and the Department of Innovation and Creativity.
In November, we supported Lilongwe Technical College and Namitete Technical College in an Incubator Development workshop in partnership with CRS. Both colleges are planning establish incubation hubs in 2024, which will serve as strong point of of support for local enterprises.
SEED Continues Activities in Morocco
Following the launch of our project in the end of 2022, the SEED Morocco project truly advanced in terms of programme content this year. Beyond deepening our understanding of the local ecosystems and the framework conditions for supporting eco-inclusive enterprises in Morocco through contributing to the development of country notes, the year 2023 focused on the execution of our incubation programs.
In March, a Training of Trainers took place in Casablanca, where we shared our tool-based SEED support approach with 25 local business advisors. Subsequently, we initiated partnerships with three business support organisations to implement the SEED incubation programmes in the three impact regions: Souss-Massa, l'Oriental, and Casa-Rabat. Following the successful implementation of the SEED Replicator, which engaged over 70 future founders, we kicked-off the SEED Starter implementation in the final quarter of the year. By year-end, we anticipate providing start-up support to approximately 30 early stage green enterprises in refining their business ideas.
Staying on Course in 2024
Looking ahead into 2024, SEED remains focused on carrying on implementation of various activities in support of entrepreneurship around the world. There will be key regional events and another batch of Green Entrepreneurship Awards. Our commitment to supporting eco-inclusive enterprises and establishing ecosystems that foster their growth remains unwavering.