The SEED Blog

Harnessing the potential of Baobab to provide  Mozambican women with new income opportunities
Photo by Caneles CC-BY/Flickr

Harnessing the potential of Baobab to provide Mozambican women with new income opportunities

seed 22 October 2014 By Jona Liebl & Mirko Zürker They are one of the most visually-enthralling trees on the planet. The ancient Baobab – endemic mostly to semi-arid regions of tropical Africa including Mozambique – can live for over 1000 years. Sometimes called the ‘tree of life’, indigenous communities have relied on Baobabs for shelter, food, medicine, clothing and raw materials for generations. A neglected and under-utilised species Up until now, there has been no formal trade in Baobab products in... Read the full article
Direct-to-Farmer Finance: Business models for serving the hardest-to-reach smallholders
Sweet potato farmers in rural Tanzania. Photo credit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Direct-to-Farmer Finance: Business models for serving the hardest-to-reach smallholders

curated 21 October 2014 By Laura Goldman An estimated 90 percent of smallholder farmers lack strong, consistent relationships with buyers – and the access to finance, inputs, agronomic training and other support that typically accompanies those relationships. The way these smallholders operate – outside a tight value chain, on a relatively small landholding , and with limited commercial activity – makes it difficult for financial providers to reach them. Direct-to-farmer finance is an important pathway... Read the full article
Boosting support for social and environmental entrepreneurship in Namibia

Boosting support for social and environmental entrepreneurship in Namibia

seed 15 October 2014 By Julia Rohe Although ranking among the upper-middle income countries, Namibia’s income distribution is among the most unequal in the world. Unemployment has remained extremely high for decades and about one third of the population lives below the poverty line. Among the 2014 Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum Namibia ranks 88 th out of 144 countries, outlining shortcomings in areas such as domestic market size and innovation. Even though all major... Read the full article
African SMEs are Starved of Finance
Photo: Solar Technologies Manufacturing, 2015 SEED Award Winner

African SMEs are Starved of Finance

curated 13 October 2014 By Robert Zegers Of Africa’s 50 million SMEs, over 70% suffer from insufficient financing, leaving a funding gap of USD 140 billion. Less than a quarter of these firms have access to bank loans or lines of credit, compared to 43% in other developing regions. To address this challenge, the African Development Bank launched the Africa SME Program... Read the full article
Creating an enabling environment for social and environmental entrepreneurship in Malawi

Creating an enabling environment for social and environmental entrepreneurship in Malawi

seed 29 September 2014 By Rainer Agster & Mirko Zürker As one of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi is characterised by a largely rural population; 84 per cent of Malawi’s population lives outside cities, and depends on agriculture as their primary source of income. A considerable lack of dynamics in the economy is reflected in the 2014 Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, in which Malawi ranks 132nd out of 144 countries. Social and environmental entrepreneurship – as promoted by SEED – is... Read the full article
19 Helpful Green Business Resources

19 Helpful Green Business Resources

curated 24 September 2014 By Ecopreneurist Whether you’re just starting your first green business, and are considering making the move from employee to owner, or you’re a veteran business owner looking to build a new sustainable business for the green economy, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel and figure out everything on your own. Plenty of other eco-entrepreneurs have gone before you, and with the growing popularity of green businesses as not only viable financial investments, but also sound... Read the full article
Promoting entrepreneurship for sustainable development: why, and how?
SEED Winners showcasing their products at the SEED Africa Symposium 2014

Promoting entrepreneurship for sustainable development: why, and how?

seed 23 September 2014 By Helen Marquard When UNEP, UNDP and IUCN decided to register the SEED Initiative as a Type II partnership at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, they clearly thought they were on to something – but possibly not quite what SEED is now. Alighting upon ideas spawned by Germany, they were pioneers, seeing the potential of entrepreneurship to implement sustainable development from the bottom up. At that time, social entrepreneurship was only just starting to attract... Read the full article
Financing a Low-Carbon Future
Nicolò Lazzati , flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Financing a Low-Carbon Future

curated 21 September 2014 By Achim Steiner There is a long way to go, but the private sector is beginning to appreciate that its future prosperity depends on a low-carbon future. As thousands of representatives of the sector gather for the climate summit, momentum will grow - and with it a reframing of the debate from ‘burden sharing’ to unleashing the innovating force of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Read the full article
Bringing mobility to Mozambique’s poorest

Bringing mobility to Mozambique’s poorest

seed 10 September 2014 By Jona Liebl ‘Teach a man how to fish‘ or, as in this case, ‘ride a bike’, espouses the core aim of the founders of a social and green enterprise that is intent on improving the living standards of rural Mozambicans. Maputo-based Mozambikes wants to help fight poverty by providing affordable, efficient, and green transportation, namely: quality bikes, designed for local conditions. Most Mozambicans live in rural and remote areas of the country and rely on agriculture –... Read the full article
The circular economy and opportunities for small businesses

The circular economy and opportunities for small businesses

guest 28 August 2014 By Francesca Culcasi & Anais Mangin Current ways of production and consumption are not sustainable, disregarding the efficient use of natural resources, the minimization of toxic materials and the emission of waste. However, green alternatives become more and more visible and enterprises in emerging and developing countries are innovating with greener products and services. They are playing an important role in the shift towards a green economy, to find a way to harmonically and respectfully create... Read the full article
Early stage impact investing: a call for action
Sunny Money (SEED Winner Kenya) - A community-based initiative that increases quality of life in rural Africa by selling innovative solar products, which are manufactured in local facilities and are sold by micro-franchisees in their communities

Early stage impact investing: a call for action

seed 18 August 2014 By Anais Mangin The exponential growth of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America has contributed significantly to the burgeoning green economy. Every year more and more small and green entrepreneurs are creating innovative ways to produce sustainable products and services that are having wide-reaching social and economic impacts on the world’s poorest communities.In many cases, reducing poverty is the sole driver of these enterprises; in... Read the full article
How Women Entrepreneurs are contributing to the Green Economy

How Women Entrepreneurs are contributing to the Green Economy

seed 01 August 2014 By Anais Mangin Particularly women are increasingly perceived to play a significant role in realising the transformation to a greener economy and poverty reduction in countries with developing economies. Various studies confirm the direct and indirect impact of women entrepreneurs. Raising female employment could impact a country’s GDP by a growth rate of up to 34 per cent. Women also contribute to the greater availability of human resources of a country´s green industry by... Read the full article
Staying safe in conflict zones: advice from female social entrepreneurs
Flying Cloud, flickr, CC BY 2.0

Staying safe in conflict zones: advice from female social entrepreneurs

curated 01 July 2014 By Social enterprise hub Few will remember the death of Pakistani activist and social entrepreneur Fareeda "Kokikhel" Afridi. Shot dead by extremists on her way to work, Afridi was the founder of Sawera (Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas) in a tribal region in Pakistan's far-flung northwest hinterland. Her work, like that of many other female social entrepreneurs in such areas, is phenomenal, yet threats and violent attacks are often the daily reality of working... Read the full article
Making growth sustainable: co-creating solutions through social and green entrepreneurship

Making growth sustainable: co-creating solutions through social and green entrepreneurship

seed 10 June 2014 By Jona Liebl Africa has some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but many people remain excluded from the benefit of this growth with almost half of the population in sub-Saharan Africa living on less than USD1.25 per day. At the same time the continent is increasingly affected by climate change, pollution, deforestation, and resource depletion. In this context, the proliferation of social and green enterprises takes on a crucial element in the shift towards... Read the full article
Making green and social entrepreneurship work for all in the developing world

Making green and social entrepreneurship work for all in the developing world

seed 01 June 2014 By Amélie Heuër & Helen Marquard With the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaching, consultations are taking place globally to draw out insights that can contribute to the “Post-2015 Development Agenda and Framework”. In this context, the SEED Initiative recently took part in the interactive, multi-stakeholder discussion: “ Scaling up partnerships in food and nutritional security and marine resources ”, which was part of the joint General Assembly/ECOSOC Partnerships... Read the full article
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