Eco-inclusive enterprises get a stake in green economy agendas during GEC discussions
SEED advocates for SMEs in green economy agendas at GEC Global Meeting 2019
8 – 9 January 2019 | Cape Town, South Africa
SEED backed smaller eco-inclusive enterprises to #GetAStake in the Green Economy transition during action-oriented discussions at the Green Economy Coalition Global Meeting 2019.
Effective governmental and non-governmental measures for directly involving the private sector in realising green economies already exist and are constantly being explored in greater depth. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), contributing up to 60% of total employment and up to 40% of GDP in emerging economies, play a crucial role here. With innovative business cases, these enterprises drive forward economic development which is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. A number of SMEs around the world create jobs along their value chains for marginalised communities, underprivileged women or unemployed youth.
Nonetheless, SMEs continue to be unsung champions in need of further support to realise their full potential. Besides challenges such as access to financing and a lack of adequate business management skills, a lack of robust and targeted support from key actors in developing and emerging economies often obstructs business development.
GEC Session | Stories of Green and Inclusive Change
During the Green Economy Coalition Global Meeting 2019, Rainer Agster, SEED Director of Operations, alongside other SEED Team members shared stories of the transformative power of the unsung heroes of SEED-supported enterprises during the Stories of Change meeting session. Mr Agster reiterated that as the topic of Climate Finance becomes increasingly central in the Green Economy discourse, more voices of key players must speak out in favour of greater financing opportunities for smaller enterprises, including those at the heart of SEED’s Direct Enterprise Support incubation and acceleration programmes.
SEED Prototyping Session | Co-creation of Targeted SME Support Mechanisms
The second day of the GEC Global Meeting, SEED – as a key advocate for integrating SME voices into high-level green economy agenda-setting – hosted a parallel policy group session on Small & Informal Business in a Green Economy. SEED guided session participants to share experiences of best practice in support for SMEs and apply hands-on SEED Policy Prototyping Tools to design new multi-stakeholder support instruments inspired by these lessons of good practice. The aim of the hands-on parallel session was to increase the visibility and voice of SMEs in high-level discussions while co-creating tangible solutions that translate international frameworks into local policies. The implementation of these and other targeted policy instruments are needed to multiply the contributions of eco-inclusive entrepreneurship to meeting green economy objectives.
Mechanisms prototyped during the session included ranging from goverment-issued monetary incentives, tech-based platforms for improving policy transparency and literacy to ditigal support mechanisms for underserved SMEs.
From Conference Room to Production Line | Eco-Inclusive Innovation at All Women Recycling
Following the second day at the GEC Global Meeting 2019, the SEED Team with a delegation from the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) visited All Women Recycling, a female-led eco-inclusive enterprise and 2014 SEED South Africa Award Winner. All Women Recycling revives discarded plastic bottles collected from landfills by turning this waste into unique gift boxes, known as kliketyklikboxes, which serve a worldwide niche market. This enterprise relies on its extensive network of collectors and sorters plus women involved in transforming waste into unique treasures – all of whom benefit from the additional source of income. Through its activities, All Women Recycling proves the power that small and growing enterprises have to innovate green economy solutions that are socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.
The GEC Global Meeting 2019 culminated in a clearer sense, among other core outputs, of how SMEs can and should feature more prominently in the global green economy transition through:
- Commitment to a focused “try and see” approach to policy that prioritises piloting policy interventions targeted at SMEs, such as those resulting from ongoing SEED Policy Prototyping Labs and the application of SEED Prototyping Tools at high-level events (including the GEC meeting).
- Engagement with SMEs at the local level via associations or networks to better raise up and amplify SME voices and encourage peer-to-peer exchanges, thus pooling the transaction costs and easing processes of policy engagement. At SEED, this means building on its multi-stakeholder Ecosystem Building activities for collaboration, financing and business development support networks.
- Extension of financial access assistance for SMEs at the start-up stage to improve market access and finance the ‘missing middle’ of entrepreneurial potential, including by fuelling support for the co-creation and implementation of targeted climate finance products developed during the SEED Practitioner Labs Climate Finance process.
- Tailoring of business support and legal capacity building to build on lessons in success of social and environmental enterprises as well as these enterprises’ bottom line. At SEED, the Business Development Support+ programme builds the capacities of a network BDS+ Advisors with business development tools and insights gathered from over fifteen years supporting eco-inclusive enterprises across the globe.
The outputs from the SEED parallel policy session and other discussions during the GEC meeting were carried forward by into SEED's engagement with global leaders at the 2019 PAGE Ministerial Conference directly following the GEC Global Meeting 2019. Read more about GEC Global Meeting 2019 outputs here.
Stay tuned for more SEED News in 2019 to follow progress on commitments to featuring eco-inclusive SMEs more prominently in global green economy initiatives.