The SEED Blog

“Botanica is ready to engage impact investors”

“Botanica is ready to engage impact investors”

curated 03 September 2015 By Ben White The 2014 SEED Winner Botanica "is poised to make a quantum leap in achieving social and environmental objectivess". In an interview with the managing director, Will Coetsee, learn what impact investment and the upcoming Nairobi Investor Forum have to do with it. Read the full article
Building Inclusive Value Chains

Building Inclusive Value Chains

guest 27 August 2015 By Mareike Grytz & Carolin Ehrensperger How can people living at the base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) be integrated into global value chains and improve their livelihood on a long-term perspective? One answer clearly is: by fostering Inclusive Business Models (IBM). Making value chains more inclusive via IBM has taken the classic value chain approach to a new, yet distinctive level. Inclusive Business Models explicitly focus on improving the quality of life for people living at the BoP by integrating them as... Read the full article
Solar Serve: a clean cooking revolution in Vietnam

Solar Serve: a clean cooking revolution in Vietnam

curated 21 August 2015 By Practioner Hub "The challenge for us is selling an environmentally friendly product in Vietnam- this topic isn’t really popular." - Leanr how Solar Serve, 2013 SEED Low Carbon Award Winner, is running a succesful business while keeping its core mission in an interview with The Practitioner Hub. Read the full article
The next challenge for impact investing: Scaling up support to early stage social enterprises

The next challenge for impact investing: Scaling up support to early stage social enterprises

guest 13 August 2015 By Bertil van Vugt & Mirko Zürker The growth and success of green and inclusive business models with high impact potential is central to the challenges many emerging economies are facing. These enterprises not only spur development and market growth, but also ensure the preservation of the very base of our global economy – environmental and social resources. Thus, these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may just be the backbone of tomorrow’s global economy. The considerable political and... Read the full article
Water for Life – innovative and entrepreneurial ways of storing water in semi-arid regions of Brazil

Water for Life – innovative and entrepreneurial ways of storing water in semi-arid regions of Brazil

guest 30 July 2015 By Thais Corral, Daniele Cesano & Carolin Ehrensperger Access to water is not only about meeting basic human needs; it is critical to sustainable development, too. For instance water is essential for agriculture and industry; it is a source of energy and also makes up an integral part of transport systems in many countries. One person needs to drink two to four litres of water every day, but the quantity of virtual water embedded in foods that we consume varies between 2,000 and 5,000 litres every day (... Read the full article
Taking action and inspiring change towards food security not only on Mandela Day, but every day

Taking action and inspiring change towards food security not only on Mandela Day, but every day

seed 18 July 2015 By Mirko Zürker & Rest Kanju “It’s in your hands now”: with this sentence, Nelson Mandela passed on his legacy to make a difference in the world to a new generation at his 90th birthday. One year later, the United Nations General Assembly, dedicated his birthday, 18 July, as Nelson Mandela Day , and since then every year this day honours the work of the former South African president and human rights activist. And, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation the best way to honour Mandela’s... Read the full article
Ghana’s bicycle which is creating jobs while it saves the soil

Ghana’s bicycle which is creating jobs while it saves the soil

curated 09 July 2015 By Corinne Jones The high quality bamboo bikes designed and manufactured by the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, are not only exported but are also suitable for the road conditions in Ghana and affordable to the poor. Winning the SEED Award in 2010 not only helped them develop a business plan, but also brought media attention to the start-up enterprise. Read the full article
Sands of time
Helen Marquard with Lorna Rutto of Ecopost, SEED Africa Symposium 2013

Sands of time

seed 30 June 2015 By Helen Marquard Today, the 30th June, is a significant date: it is exactly 8 years since I left the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to join the SEED Initiative, and it now marks a transition from my role as Executive Director of SEED, to Chairman. This is a big step for me personally, and the opening up of new opportunities for SEED: Allison Robertshaw is expected to take up the reins as the new Executive Director in September. I cannot let it pass without... Read the full article
Increasing the impact of social enterprises in developing and emerging economies
© Siemens Stiftung

Increasing the impact of social enterprises in developing and emerging economies

guest 25 June 2015 By Aline Margaux Wachner, Tim Weiss & Lisa M. Hanley Social enterprises are seen as a source of hope in solving social problems in developing and emerging economies. Innovative social business models are meant to help solve social ills in a sustainable way and build up organisations that can remain up and running without donations. A recent large-scale survey published by Zeppelin University and Siemens Stiftung generally supports the idea that social enterprises can have a positive impact on poverty reduction.... Read the full article
What role for eco-entrepreneurship in the Post-2015 agenda?

What role for eco-entrepreneurship in the Post-2015 agenda?

seed 19 June 2015 By Helen Marquard & Anais Mangin The Millennium Development Goals have shaped development cooperation in the last 15 years, and there has been progress towards eliminating poverty worldwide. Nevertheless, much remains to be done. The post-2015 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals will set ambitious targets not only to end poverty, but also to promote growth and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change. The pressing question is: how will we achieve them? The need... Read the full article
Madagascar's fishing villagers learn to survive by managing their stocks
2005 SEED Award Winner : Madagascar's first community-run marine protected area, Photo Credit: Blue Ventures

Madagascar's fishing villagers learn to survive by managing their stocks

curated 10 June 2015 By Kit Buchan 10 years ago, in 2005, the first SEED Award Winners were honoured; one of them was Madagascar's first community-run marine protected area, driven largely by Blue Ventures. The early recognition by SEED - Blue Ventures was only founded two years prior to winning the SEED Award - has supported it rapid path to become a global example for maritime protection. Read the full article
Breaking the taboo: how managing menstruation in a hygienic and environment-friendly way can empower thousands of girls and women while reducing waste in developing countries

Breaking the taboo: how managing menstruation in a hygienic and environment-friendly way can empower thousands of girls and women while reducing waste in developing countries

seed 02 June 2015 By Anais Mangin & Amélie Heuër While it may have gone unnoticed to many, the 28 th of May was the International Menstrual Hygiene Day ; a day initiated by WASH United to create awareness around the right of women and girls to hygienically manage their menstruation – in privacy, safety and with dignity – where ever they are. Menstruation is a natural process that is part of nearly every girl’s and woman’s life and still the subject remains a taboo in many cultures and society. Why do we need to... Read the full article
Cheap solar lamps help villagers keep their health, and cut emissions
Use Solar, a 2011 SEED Award Winner

Cheap solar lamps help villagers keep their health, and cut emissions

curated 26 May 2015 By Katie Forster In Kenya, where less than a quarter of the 45-million population has access to electricity, a solar lamp project is helping rural communities save money on expensive and harmful fuel while reducing carbon emissions. The Use Solar, Save Lives initiative was set up in 2004 by Evans Wadongo, 29, an engineer who experienced the dangerous effects of kerosene lamps growing up in a western Kenyan village. Studying close to an open flame, he was exposed to kerosene smoke,... Read the full article
From telegraph to internet – How can entrepreneurship help bridge the digital divide?

From telegraph to internet – How can entrepreneurship help bridge the digital divide?

seed 17 May 2015 By Jona Liebl In the middle of the 19 th century, the invention of the telegraph was transforming societies: instead of sending letters by horses or ships which could take weeks or even months, messages could now be delivered within minutes. To ensure that national borders would not hold back the development, the (ITU) was founded in 1865 and is now celebrating its 150 th anniversary. Since then the organisation has steadily evolved with the technology – from telegraph, over... Read the full article
Greening South Africa’s economy: improved business development support for social and environmental enterprises

Greening South Africa’s economy: improved business development support for social and environmental enterprises

seed 06 May 2015 By Julia Rohe & Rest Kanju According to World Bank, South Africa ranks as an upper-middle income economy, representing the second-largest economy in Africa. While disposing of an abundant supply of natural resources and a modern infrastructure, unemployment, poverty, and inequality remain a challenge. In 2011 45.5 per cent of the population lived below the national poverty line while 53.8% of the total income was held by the top income decile of the population (World Bank, 2011). {tip... Read the full article
Tackling climate change is the ultimate no-brainer business strategy
Photo credit: USFWS/Joshua Winchell, flickr, CC BY 2.0

Tackling climate change is the ultimate no-brainer business strategy

curated 29 April 2015 Instead of asking if they can afford to cut carbon, companies have to start asking if they can afford not to - Recently, as I finished speaking to a group of fund managers, I was asked two questions that have become increasingly common. The first was: “What if scientists are wrong and the climate thing doesn’t turn out to be so bad?” The second was: “Will companies regret doing something about it?” Read the full article
Ten years of SEED Awards (2005-2015): A rich experience in promoting entrepreneurship for sustainable development
Jürgen Trittin, former German Minister for the Environment, speaking at the 2005 SEED Awards, Photo Credit: IISD

Ten years of SEED Awards (2005-2015): A rich experience in promoting entrepreneurship for sustainable development

seed 20 April 2015 By Helen Marquard & Amélie Heuër Today, exactly ten years ago, five start-up entrepreneurs from Bolivia, Cambodia, Madagascar, Nepal and Nigeria travelled to New York to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). They were to receive the first SEED Awards for their innovative approaches to advance sustainable development at the grassroots. Little did they – or we - recognise at the time that they were pioneers of a new generation of enterprises: green and inclusive... Read the full article
Finance for whom and for what?
Photo: Sustainable Sanitation, Creative Commons via Flickr

Finance for whom and for what?

curated 15 April 2015 By David Satterthwaite Ahead of the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, David Satterthwaite highlights the disconnect that exists between the commitments made by national governments at international conferences and finance available for the (mostly local) institutions that can meet them. Read the full article
How the business of bees contributes to sustainable development

How the business of bees contributes to sustainable development

seed 10 April 2015 By Amélie Heuër & Carolin Ehrensperger Bees play a vital part in our natural ecosystems as they are responsible for the pollination of many fruit, nuts, vegetables and other species. For one thing, 100 crop species provide 90% of food worldwide and of those 71 species are pollinated by bees. Extremely high mortality rates of bees in Europe, America and Asia however are putting the balance at risk. For instance, each decade between 1-10% of the world’s biodiversity is lost, one of the factors being the... Read the full article
Gender Equality and Earth's Future
2014 SEED Gender Equality Award Winner 'JITA Bangladesh'

Gender Equality and Earth's Future

curated 02 April 2015 By Mary Robinson, Christiana Figueres, Amina J. Mohammed, NEW YORK – Twenty years ago, the adoption by 189 governments of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action marked a turning point in the history of women's rights. This progressive blueprint remains a powerful source of inspiration in the effort to realize equal opportunities for women and girls. But while much progress has been made in the intervening decades, much more remains to be done to ensure that women and children are guaranteed healthy lives,... Read the full article
Imagine an Earth Hour with Clean Energy for All

Imagine an Earth Hour with Clean Energy for All

seed 28 March 2015 By Amélie Heuër & Carolin Ehrensperger Today, on March 28 th , thousands of cities around the world will turn off their lights during Earth Hour to draw attention to the urgent need to act on climate change. Even though the devastating impacts of climate change are becoming ever more visible, global carbon emissions – one of the main contributor to climate change – continue to rise at an alarming rate. One key challenge we are facing is to reduce carbon emissions, and at the same time provide energy... Read the full article
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