[Do not publish] The SEED Awards 2019 highlight the contribution of green and social enterprises to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

Announcing the winners and finalists of the SEED Awards 2019

Lilongwe, Malawi, Berlin, Germany, 24 October 2019 – Tackling poverty and climate change, generating employment opportunities and contributing to economic development, this year’s 14 SEED Award winners were selected from over 900 applicants and were recognised for solutions to major local and global challenges.

Take for example Nelplast, a Ghanaian enterprise which turns plastic waste into pavement slabs and tiles that are 800% stronger than ordinary pavement blocks. This enterprise, which works mainly with youth and women, has collected and recycled over two tons of plastic every day, preventing this waste from ending up in landfills.  Kukula Solar from Malawi has set itself the goal of ensuring that  one million low-income women and their families have access to quality, affordable and warranted solar products by 2030. Indonesian enterprise Mycotech creates leather-like material and products from fungus. Its 100% vegan and zero waste philosophy is an example to the fashion industry, which is one of the most polluting in the world.

This year’s SEED Awards were announced on the occasion of the SEED Malawi National Dialogue Forum in Lilongwe. The awards recognise 14 innovative start-up enterprises from Africa and Asia active in sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, waste, renewable energy, water and sanitation, sustainable tourism, biodiversity and conservation. SEED Award winners are exceptional and inspiring examples of partnership-based, locally-driven enterprises that contribute to fighting poverty and climate change in their communities and countries.

Ms Svenja Schulze, German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), one of the main supporters of the Awards, highlighted the importance of these enterprises in advancing the SDGs: “To achieve the SDGs, everyone needs to contribute. The private sector, including small enterprises, has huge potential to move forward the fast and fair transition in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This award highlights the innovative potential of small green and social enterprises and showcases the economic and social opportunities for often marginalized communities. It serves as a great motivation for others to follow.”

Head of Unit at the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs, Delphine Delouvroy, said on the occasion: ““Flanders believes multi-actor partnerships are crucial to support the necessary systemic change to deliver on the SDGs. In addition to partnerships, innovation and new ways of thinking that question traditional models are essential elements of the transition. By supporting the SEED program Flanders wants to support innovative entrepreneurs. The program contributes to the Flemish climate finance engagements, as Flemish support for (eco-inclusive) SMME-development in Southern Africa.”

This year’s winners were selected from over 900 applicants from Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Youth-led enterprises led the way, comprising 62% of overall applications and 48% of the applications were from female-led enterprises.

"The winners of the SEED Awards are unique in that they deliver grass-roots products and services which benefit not only the environment -- but also local economies and particular groups such as women and youth,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “As such, they are contributing to the resilience of communities, a fundamental shift towards a more inclusive green economy and broader efforts to achieve the SDGs.”

As well as being awarded matching grants, winning and finalist enterprises will also receive tailored one-on-one advisory services for several months to validate and grow their operations. The SEED winners will join the SEED Accelerator programme to refine their financial and business models with a view to scaling up and replicating their activities. SEED believes in awarding the best and moving the rest. In line with this principle, 52 finalists will be supported through the SEED Catalyser programme, to refine their business models and optimise their impacts while advancing their investment readiness. The winners will join a network of more than 240 enterprises from 38 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America - laureates of the SEED Awards. The 2019 winner & finalist profiles can be found on SEED website here.

SEED Executive Director, Lewis Akenji highlighted the importance of the awards: “the SEED Awards have a refined a process of working with partners to identify future-oriented solutions. Winning enterprises are sure to impact their communities with solutions that can be adapted in other locations and scaled to contribute to address global issues. We encourage entrepreneurs, development partners, policy makers and implementers take a closer look at these eco-inclusive businesses and draw from them to amplify their impacts.”

The winning enterprises were selected by an independent jury of local and international business and development experts. Further details about the awards jury 2019 can be found on SEED website here.


SEED Low Carbon Award 2019 Winners

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SEED Africa Award 2019 Winners

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SEED South Africa Climate Adaptation Award 2019 Winners

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The SEED South Africa Climate Adaptation Awards are implemented with Indalo Inclusive South Africa.


About the SEED Awards

The SEED Low Carbon Awards 2019 in Ghana, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda are sponsored by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The SEED Africa Awards 2019 in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and SEED South Africa Climate Adaptation Awards 2019 in South Africa are sponsored by the Government of Flanders.

About SEED

SEED, founded in 2002, is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy. SEED believes entrepreneurship is key in driving sustainable development. Its enterprise support programmes in Asia and Africa support small and growing enterprises with business and capacity-building support. Its ecosystem programmes focus on policy, financing and collaboration instruments that multiply the social, environmental and economic impacts of entrepreneurship. SEED was founded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.


For any queries, please contact Linde Wolters on linde [dot] woltersatseed [dot] uno (linde.wolters[at]seed.uno)

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