The SEED Blog

The deliberation: How impact investors evaluate what venture to fund
Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The deliberation: How impact investors evaluate what venture to fund

curated 06 July 2016 By Naki B. Mendoza The pitch has been crafted, the speech has been rehearsed and the entrepreneur takes to the stage to prove why their business is the next breakthrough enterprise. Seated opposite them is a row of inquisitive investors ready to evaluate why their capital should fund the proposed venture. Read the full article
Agriculture: Re-thinking an old industry
Farm using Terra Nova's organic compost

Agriculture: Re-thinking an old industry

seed 16 June 2016 By Carolin Ehrensperger Agriculture still plays an essential role in the economy, and particular for employment on the African continent. Mozambique is no exception. In 2011, the agricultural sector contributed to almost one third of the country’s GDP and provided a living for 80% of the working population. Nevertheless, the majority of the rural population faces extreme poverty and malnutrition, and Mozambique has to import large parts of its food. 95% of the country’s farms are managed... Read the full article
A perspective from India
photo credit : ONergy, 2014 SEED Award Winner

A perspective from India

seed 10 May 2016 By Allison Robertshaw For those of you who are regular readers of the SEED blog, you may remember a post from a few months ago when SEED was in Mexico as part of our work in exploring the needs of the green SME space in different geographical locales. This past month, it was India’s turn, as SEED hosted an event around investment in the low-carbon, green SME sector. Whilst it’s fair to say that every region and country has its own challenges, it remains surprising how similar the... Read the full article
Women-to-women energy networks: essential piece of the puzzle for SE4All
Photocredit: Solar Sister, 2011 SEED Award Winner

Women-to-women energy networks: essential piece of the puzzle for SE4All

seed 04 May 2016 By Amélie Heuër Over the last three days I’ve had the pleasure of attending the 2016 International Tech4Dev Conference , which focussed on innovation to achieve social impact. I was struck by the diverse backgrounds of the attendees and I witnessed some truly inspiring technological innovation to address a wide range of development issues, from climate change adaptation to humanitarian relief or medical innovation. A key question that emerged both throughout the panel and... Read the full article
Unlocking capital, boosting support – building the ecosystem for eco-entrepreneurship in South Africa

Unlocking capital, boosting support – building the ecosystem for eco-entrepreneurship in South Africa

seed 14 April 2016 By Marion Müller vom Berge This year’s South Africa Symposium brought together more than 200 entrepreneurs, practitioners, investors and policy makers to discuss how to grow and support social and eco-enterprises in South Africa. The event focused on two key challenges facing SMEs in South Africa: how to unlock investment capital for SMEs in terms of financial support products, and how to, in parallel, foster skills and knowledge through affordable, effective business development support... Read the full article
Waste management driving green growth

Waste management driving green growth

curated 31 March 2016 By Amélie Heuër and Moussa Dogo Ali In the context of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SEED and its winner Almodo illustrate how valuable multi-stakeholder partnerships can contribute to SDG 12 for ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Read the full article
Ready to Connect – Finding solutions for business constraints of Smaller Inclusive Businesses and Social Enterprises

Ready to Connect – Finding solutions for business constraints of Smaller Inclusive Businesses and Social Enterprises

curated 17 March 2016 By Mirko Zuerker, SEED & Mareike Grytz, IBAN Smaller inclusive businesses (IB) and social enterprises (SE) aim to provide, at scale, innovative and systemic solutions and create a tangible impact on a core problem of developing countries. In recent years supporting organisations, financial institutions and governments in developing countries have started to develop strategies supporting the growth of IBs and SEs. Read the full article
From trash to cash: How to turn waste back into a valuable resource

From trash to cash: How to turn waste back into a valuable resource

seed 09 March 2016 By Carolin Ehrensperger Worldwide heaps of waste are expected to double by 2015 according to the World Bank . The majority of it is burned, dumped into landfills or ends up in our oceans. The small minority of the waste we are producing is taken for what it really is: an important resource. Rethinking products and raising awareness The first step to tackle the problem is to shrink the amount of new waste being added. This can be done by redesigning products in a way that they produce... Read the full article
Social Enterprise in Latin America - A frontier market on the cusp of going mainstream

Social Enterprise in Latin America - A frontier market on the cusp of going mainstream

seed 24 February 2016 By Allison Robertshaw Last week I had the pleasure of attending New Ventures’ Foro Latinoamericano de Inversion Impacto in Merida, Mexico . It was an inspiring few days unpicking the latest developments in social entrepreneurship in the region and proved an interesting opportunity to compare to recent developments in Africa where I attended SEED’s African Symposium just a few months ago. What struck me most forcefully is that the social enterprise sector in Latin America is rapidly... Read the full article
The rise of internet veg box schemes in sub-Saharan Africa
Jeff Attaway, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The rise of internet veg box schemes in sub-Saharan Africa

curated 17 February 2016 By Anna Dubuis Growing up on a farm in central Kenya , Winston Wachanga witnessed the piles of fruit and vegetables that perished after never making it to a market. Later with a tomato farm of his own, he experienced the same struggle of farmers across the country trying to find a buyer. “We have so much produce but accessing customers is difficult. We don’t have capacity to get produce to market and we end up being exploited. It becomes frustrating,” he says. Read the full article
Changing the paradigm of childcare and income generation in Nairobi’s slums

Changing the paradigm of childcare and income generation in Nairobi’s slums

seed 04 February 2016 By Marion Müller vom Berge Every child in the world has the right to access high quality early childhood care and education, and every woman deserves the opportunity to participate in the workforce and generate income, free of concern that their child may not be cared for properly. This is where 2015 SEED Gender Equality Award Winner Kidogo is revolutionising the manner in which childcare and income generation for mothers is rolling out in Nairobi’s informal settlements. With the vision of... Read the full article
Financing for the ‘Missing Middle’ in South Africa
South African SEED Winner 2014: Botanica Natural Products

Financing for the ‘Missing Middle’ in South Africa

seed 12 January 2016 By Jana Rudnik & Mirko Zürker Financing! 20k-200k USD is needed for the ‘missing middle’ is one of ten critical aspects that SEED emphasises as crucial for the growth of SMMEs. Especially for the South African economy, which is the second-largest in Africa, the value of small, micro and medium enterprises to combat unemployment and wealth inequalities as well as to foster economic growth and innovation is undeniable. SMMEs make up around 91 per cent of all formalized businesses. A study of... Read the full article
How One Woman Helped Light Rural India With Solar Lamps
Balaji Photography, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

How One Woman Helped Light Rural India With Solar Lamps

curated 07 January 2016 By Wendy Koch “I saw a 5-year-old die in five seconds,” says Ajaita Shah, recalling the Indian girl enveloped by a kerosene fire at home. There was nothing we could do. Not then. But since that 2008 disaster, Shah has helped cut the use of kerosene lamps in rural India by selling thousands of solar lanterns, street lights, and home lighting kits.” Read the full story of 2014 SEED Winner Frontier Markets by National Geographic. Read the full article
Tools, Tools, Tools – the SEED Training of Trainers (TOT) in South Africa created a sound support base for green, inclusive SMEs

Tools, Tools, Tools – the SEED Training of Trainers (TOT) in South Africa created a sound support base for green, inclusive SMEs

seed 18 December 2015 By Magdalena Kloibhofer & Jana Rudnik EcoBrick Exchange educates local communities in South Africa on the production of simple, reusable building bricks – done by filling PET bottles with rubbish – to construct early childhood centres and other community buildings. A SEED Winner of 2015, the enterprise not only empowers communities by enabling them to produce their own building materials but also by creating a new way of recycling waste and thus educating people about environmental awareness. However,... Read the full article
Africa: the Incubator of Tomorrow
Marfis75, Flickr, CC-BY-SA

Africa: the Incubator of Tomorrow

curated 10 December 2015 By Simone Cipriani After having worked for years in Africa, I have come to believe it is one of the places in which the world of tomorrow is being incubated. Most of the stereotypes I had in mind 13 years ago when I began travelling across the continent proved to be wrong. What I discovered is that Africa produces innovation and desire for change. I believe four key factors are behind this. Read the full article
The role of finance in addressing climate change—but where is the conversation around SME’s?
http://401kcalculator.org, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The role of finance in addressing climate change—but where is the conversation around SME’s?

seed 07 December 2015 By Allison Robertshaw It would be an understatement to say that finance is one of the big issues being discussed at COP21. I’ve managed to pop into a number of side events on the topic and it comes up in even the most casual of conversations (here at the COP casual conversations are either about climate change or how little sleep we’re all getting). There’s no doubt that a great deal of progress has been made at the highest levels. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and... Read the full article
Investment, Research, Innovation... and SMEs?
Omar Wasow, flickr, CC BY 2.0

Investment, Research, Innovation... and SMEs?

seed 03 December 2015 By Allison Robertshaw The recent announcement by Bill Gates on the formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition which will support investments in green technologies is a welcome one. The fact that is tied to a commitment by the governments of the countries in which it will invest to increase public funding in energy research and development is even more welcomed as for all we talk of the importance of the private sector we would be remiss in forgetting that many of the developments... Read the full article
The climate negotiations in Paris - What does it mean for the green SME community?
Picture CC-BY-ND 2.0 Flickr/mycieau

The climate negotiations in Paris - What does it mean for the green SME community?

seed 25 November 2015 By Allison Robertshaw In just five days, politicians, policy makers, NGOs, businesses, entrepreneurs and activists will head to Paris, for the 21 st Conference of the Parties (COP), to see whether the world can hammer together an agreement to move the world away from catastrophic climate change before time runs out. Will they be successful? Current feelings are that there is a chance that come December 12 th the world will indeed have hammered out some sort of agreement to start... Read the full article
Has our obsession with scale blinded us as to the real way to have impact?

Has our obsession with scale blinded us as to the real way to have impact?

seed 18 November 2015 By Allison Robertshaw When I was in Nairobi a few weeks ago, our team at SEED brought together more than 500 people at our 2015 SEED Africa Symposium to discuss the latest developments in social and environmental entrepreneurship. The attendees were made up of entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors, philanthropists, consultants and business advisors, NGOs, incubators and accelerators; and came to network and discuss a wide range of topics. What became clear over these three days was –... Read the full article
Cutting down trees for survival: How women can provide an alternative source of energy

Cutting down trees for survival: How women can provide an alternative source of energy

seed 06 November 2015 By Anais Mangin "Then the refugees came and started to cut down trees and soon there was no forest left, (..) The locals also chopped trees and made charcoal to sell to the refugees." ( UNHCR, 1996 ) While this quote is almost 20 years old, it still describes the reality in and around many of the 23 refugee camps in Ethiopia and other African countries. Besides negatively impacting the global environment through loss of biodiversity and carbon emissions, the collection of... Read the full article
Turning coffee into a profitable business for smallholders: Critical Success Factors for 2009 SEED Winner Kolcafé

Turning coffee into a profitable business for smallholders: Critical Success Factors for 2009 SEED Winner Kolcafé

guest 27 October 2015 By Jamie Kyles Coffee has been the backbone of the agriculture-based economy of Tanzania for the last 100 years providing employment for an estimated 2 million people directly or indirectly, according to the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute ( TaCRI ). However, low productivity is making it difficult for farmers to retain their livelihoods. Against this background, Kolcafé , a 2009 SEED Winner, has in only 4 years tripled yields and quadrupled incomes for 270 farming families... Read the full article
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