SEED: 20 years of promoting entrepreneurship for sustainable development in Zambia and launch of the Biodiversity Finance Accelerator
Lusaka, Wednesday 2nd May 2023 – For over 20 years now, SEED has been supporting eco-inclusive enterprises across more than 30 countries. Eco-inclusive MSMEs provide market-based solutions to social and environmental problems. These enterprises create lasting collective impacts across their value chains, serving the communities at the base of the pyramid and promoting the inclusion of disadvantaged groups, while tackling environmental issues.
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. Furthermore, SEED is strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country by actively building the capacities of local business development service (BDS) providers through the SEED BDS+ Training of Trainers. The latest version of the Training of Trainers was implemented from April 17th to April 19th, where BDS providers from Malawi and Botswana also took part.
The Biodiversity Finance Accelerator (BioFA) has already started activities in the country in 2022. The Accelerator Programme supported 14 enterprises to strengthen their capacities and refine their business models by experienced local business advisors. And prior to the celebration, BioFA in collaboration with SEED hosted the Practitioners Labs: Green Finance for Climate Adaptation & Biodiversity Zambia. The event gathered key stakeholders from the regulatory, financing and business incubation sector as well as selected biodiversity-positive MSMEs to co-create and refine tailored financial solutions to deliver capital for local biodiversity initiatives.
Furthermore, BioFA is planning to organise Biodiversity Finance Trainings for Financial and Public Institutions and a Replicator programme later this year.
As part of SEED’s 20 Years celebration globally and to mark the launch the Biodiversity Finance Accelerator (BioFA) project, an evening reception was organised on April 14th, 2023 at Neelkanth Sarovar Premiere Lusaka Hotel in Lusaka to celebrate SEED’s work during the past 20 years globally, reflect on SEED’s work in Zambia, and officially launch the BioFA project. The event brought together eco-inclusive and biodiversity enterprises supported by SEED and BioFA programmes, as well as supporters and implementing partners in the climate-smart entrepreneurship space
In his opening remarks at the event, Mr. Jonas Restle-Steinert, Head of Acceleration Programmes at SEED Global highlighted the trajectory of SEED in Zambia, reflecting on SEED’s journey in supporting enterprises directly and building the ecosystem of eco-inclusive MSMEs in Zambia and globally: “Eco-inclusive enterprises are the real drivers of change and impact on the ground. Utilising their innovative potential and accelerating their growth is one of the most successful ways of achieving an economic transformation towards a greener and more equitable economy”
Anne Wagner-Mitchell, Ambassador of Germany to Zambia and Special Representative to COMESA, synthesized the activities and programmes that Germany is implementing to support international efforts to fight climate change and conserve biodiversity, mainly the International Climate Initiative (IKI), which supports climate action in developing and emerging countries. She further highlighted Zambia’s pioneering position and the country’s commitment to climate action and biodiversity protection: “I am very happy, that Zambia was chosen as one of the two countries in the Southern African region where this project is being implemented. Zambia has a thriving green entrepreneurship landscape with a vast innovation potential in the biodiversity conversation area. I am confident that many of the ideas and solutions developed in the context of the BioFA project can also be used in other African countries and internationally.”
Following Ms. Wagner-Mitchell welcoming remarks, Ms. Nambula Kachumi, Executive Director of WEAC, presented the BioFA project, it’s achievements so far and the objectives remaining, and introduced the recently established partnership with WWF to solidify the commitment towards mobilizing support and investment in the biodiversity landscape, which was formalised by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. Ms. Kachumi brought attention to the challenges that MSMEs face but highlighted the efforts taken: “together with adelphi, we are constantly iterating and adapting to more efficient ways of working with marginal groups in designing biodiversity solutions that reduce investors’ risks, enhance their expected returns, or bridge existing infrastructure gaps that can help to catalyse investments in biodiversity MSMEs and alleviate socio-economic gaps as part of Zambia’s biodiversity and sustainable development agendas”.
We were honoured to welcome Hon. Elijah J. Muchima, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, as our guest of honour during the event. Mr. Muchima called attention to the devastating effects that climate change and biodiversity loss have in the country. He highlighted the policies and frameworks that the Government is working on and promoted and highlighted the role that climate change adaptation and biodiversity-positive MSMEs play in reducing and helping their communities to adapt to those adverse impacts, calling to action to mobilise investments and support green entrepreneurs in Zambia to scale up their business models: “there is an urgent need to mobilise investments and support green entrepreneurs in Zambia to scale up their business models and amplify their positive impacts regarding contributing to mitigating and adaptation to climate change and biodiversity conservation”.
Supported enterprises from both BioFA and SEED programmes pitched their business models and showcased their products at the event, including: Diamond Touch, Nature’s Nectar, Greenbelt Energy, Junior Agripreneur Hub Africa and Forest Africa. Frazer Hadondo, founder of Forest Africa highlighted their development journey with BioFA: “our business management acumen has been improved thanks to the BioFA delivery team”.
BioFA mobilises biodiversity investments and scales biodiversity-positive entrepreneurship, thus contributing to a sustainable use, conservation and restoration of ecosystems in Malawi and Zambia. Biodiversity-positive micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are supported to access finance and invest into growth while financial institutions and other ecosystem players are trained in conservation finance to co-create innovative financing instruments for biodiversity MSMEs.
The project is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and is being implemented by adelphi research gGmbH (Germany), jointly with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Malawi) and the Women's Entrepreneurship Access Centre (Zambia).
For more information, please visit: https://biofa.info/
SEED is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy that was founded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. SEED is based on the understanding that the promotion of social and environmental enterprises is pivotal to a world of flourishing communities where entrepreneurship drives sustainable development. From an annual global awards scheme that scouts for and supports the most promising innovative and locally-led social and environmental start-up enterprises in developing countries to enhancing the quality and capacities of business development service providers – SEED build the ecosystem for social and environmental entrepreneurship.
SEED is hosted by adelphi research gGmbH, based in Berlin, Germany. Partners in SEED, in addition to the Founding Partners, are the Governments of Flanders, Germany, India, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United States of America; Conservation International; the European Union; Hogan Lovells; UNIDO; UN Women and SEED’s Corporate Partner, Hisense.
For more information, please visit: www.seed.uno
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For more information, or for interview requests with the SEED and BioFA team, please contact:
Zambia Country Liaison, SEED and BioFA Project Manager