SEED awards to recognise new eco start-ups

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally led start-up social and environmental enterprises in countries with developing and emerging economies.Small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) are the backbone of African society, accounting for about 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment around the globe. Women own at least 30 per cent of SMMEs worldwide.

These enterprises are engines of economic growth and sources of new employment. They can nimbly adapt to new technologies and respond quickly to changing market needs. In fact, most innovation happens at the SMME level, but the right conditions are needed to create, commercialize and scale up innovative solutions.

Unlike most other competitions, the SEED Award does not carry only a money prize. Experience from working with social and environmental entrepreneurs has shown that in many instances such enterprises often require access to knowledge, expertise and networks as much as to financial support. SEED meets this need by offering winners a package of individually tailored support for their enterprises

Founded by UNEP, UNDP and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and supported by a group of intergovernmental partners, SEED works to build on the potential of social and green enterprises in building inclusive and green economies, which will be a critical component of the post-2015 development agenda.

This year, the SEED Awards once again recognize businesses that tackle local and global problems with eco-innovative solutions. From aflatoxin-free peanut butter and recycled briquettes to solar-powered computers, this year’s winners are great examples of how small and micro enterprises are already making the Green Economy a reality. They prove that environmental challenges can be solved in a way that creates economic and social benefits.

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