The SEED Blog

Preparing women entrepreneurs for tomorrow’s reality
Photo credit: UN Women/Emad Karim

Preparing women entrepreneurs for tomorrow’s reality

guest 08 March 2015 By Anna Fälth In October 2014, UN Women Executive Director proposed 2030 to be the expiry date for gender inequality ( UN Women ). How can we make this bold goal a reality? Where do we start? Let’s start with envisioning the world in 2030. How will it look like? At a recent Aspen Institute conference Chiara Giovenzana , Singularity University in Silicon Valley said: “In ten years, illiteracy will no longer be about the ability to read and write, but about the ability to code”.... Read the full article
Protecting wildlife by turning elephant dung into paper: A business case?
Photo: UN in Brussels / Pairi Daiza Animal Park

Protecting wildlife by turning elephant dung into paper: A business case?

seed 03 March 2015 By Jona Liebl & Carolin Ehrensperger It has long been acknowledged that the equilibrium between humans and wildlife is one that can hang in delicate balance at the best of times, a devastating one-sided scaling at worst. Today, on World Wildlife Day, we are all called upon to step up the fight against wildlife crime, a crime which not only destroys the equilibrium between humans and wildlife, but has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts. However, currently wildlife protection is... Read the full article
How 5 Creative Young People Are Addressing Youth Employment In Africa

How 5 Creative Young People Are Addressing Youth Employment In Africa

curated 25 February 2015 By John Converse Townsend African business and political leaders, including Zambia Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda, have described Africa’s youth employment challenge as a “ ticking time bomb .” The deepening gap between young people’s skills and the needs of employers has been linked to education systems that simply are not up to snuff , but also to a general lack of faith in young people as being capable of making meaningful contributions in a global marketplace, sometimes because... Read the full article
Creating inclusive value chains in plastic waste management is paramount for a green economy
Women washing grinded plastic to be recycled / Photo provided by WASTE

Creating inclusive value chains in plastic waste management is paramount for a green economy

guest 11 February 2015 By Sophie van den Berg & Amélie Heuër The role of waste management in achieving a green economy For a long time, waste management and recycling were primarily discussed in the context of environmental preservation. However with natural resources becoming scarcer and prices of raw materials increasing, it is no surprise that materials and energy recovered from recycling waste are gradually recognised as a valuable commodity, particularly by enterprises. In its Green Economy Report (2011) UNEP clearly... Read the full article
Africa rising? Let's be Afro-realistic
Photo credit : Gavin Houtheusen/Department for International Development, flickr, CC BY 2.0

Africa rising? Let's be Afro-realistic

curated 10 February 2015 By Evans Wadongo Evans Wadongo, founder of the 2011 SEED Award Winner 'Use solar, save lifes', discusses the notion of "Africa rising" in the Guardian. Despite booming economies, the “middle class” is still in poverty. Can an honest narrative encourage equal growth? Read the full article
Scaling Up Business Solutions to Meet the Skills Gap in Emerging Markets

Scaling Up Business Solutions to Meet the Skills Gap in Emerging Markets

curated 04 February 2015 By Filippo Veglio How can companies increase employment and entrepreneurship throughout the value chain, build skills, and engage youth? A new collection of case studies provides some insights into solutions put in place by ITC, SABMiller, and Vale, three member companies of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development ( WBCSD ) with a significant presence in emerging markets. They have taken proactive steps and initiated training programs that empower not only their... Read the full article
Why the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs supported SEED since its inception in 2002
2011 SEED Award Winner Imai Farming Cooperative

Why the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs supported SEED since its inception in 2002

guest 29 January 2015 By Christopher Whaley The UK has been a strong supporter of SEED since it was established in 2002. It has been a real pleasure to see SEED grow from a small biennial awards scheme, with a modest research programme, to a much broader global initiative promoting social and environmental entrepreneurship. Given SEED’s important agenda, of fostering start-up social and environmental enterprises so as to learn how these might become effective deliverers of sustainable development, the UK (... Read the full article
How to improve support to social and environmental enterprises in Mozambique?

How to improve support to social and environmental enterprises in Mozambique?

seed 16 January 2015 By Rainer Agster Since the end of the civil war in 1992 Mozambique has experienced impressive growth rates of 6-8 per cent; embodying the new optimism regarding Africa’s economic outlook. Yet the high growth rates, mainly driven by foreign-financed large projects in the natural resource sector, have failed to create sufficient employment opportunities and poverty reduction has stagnated in the last decade. Growth is expected to continue based on new discoveries of coal and natural... Read the full article
How companies and NGOs can work together to tackle food security
Growing the Future, 2014 SEED Award Winner

How companies and NGOs can work together to tackle food security

curated 07 January 2015 By Adva Saldinger General Mills and TechnoServe partner closely on Partners in Food Solution, a nonprofit that taps the business expertise of companies to help improve the capacity of small food processors in the developing world: While the year of agriculture and nutrition, as declared by the African Union, may be over, those issues will undoubtedly remain top development priorities and can present unique opportunities for collaboration with business. Read the full article
Small meets big: How partnering with large corporations can scale impact of sustainable entrepreneurs
Photo Credit: Wiriana Awiputra, Flickr

Small meets big: How partnering with large corporations can scale impact of sustainable entrepreneurs

seed 23 December 2014 By Helen Marquard & Anais Mangin Are locally-driven social and environmental enterprises too small to have an impact? We at SEED don’t think so, and Organic Africa demonstrates that. In 2007, when everyone was leaving Zimbabwe due to political and economic turmoil, Dominikus Collenberg started to train smallholders in the organic production of herbs, spices and oils. By 2009 the enterprise had already contracted 450 farmers and collectors of wild herbs, a number that increased ten-fold within the... Read the full article
Sustainable development goals: eight ways to make reality match ambition
Seed Brazil Rio e Amazonas Janeiro

Sustainable development goals: eight ways to make reality match ambition

curated 19 December 2014 By Alex Evans The development targets that will come into force next year reflect high ideals, but delivering on them will involve a transformation of the global economy: Next year, governments will agree a new global development framework of breathtaking ambition. We already know the likely shape of the sustainable development goals (SDGS) , which will include targets ranging from ending poverty to reducing inequality both within and between countries; from better governance... Read the full article
Pathways to a greener economy: why mountain farming should not be overlooked

Pathways to a greener economy: why mountain farming should not be overlooked

seed 11 December 2014 By Jona Liebl & Magdalena Kloibhofer Today is International Mountain Day . Are you wondering what this is all about? We did too, when we first heard of it. But after some further reading about it, we soon realised that mountains not only cover a third of the earth’s land surface, they are also home to 720 million people worldwide, meaning that one out of ten people on this planet lives in mountainous areas. Many more, however, depend on the benefits that mountains offer (often without being aware of... Read the full article
The new development agenda: six priorities from Amina J Mohammed
UNCTAD - Amina J. Mohammed, flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The new development agenda: six priorities from Amina J Mohammed

curated 04 December 2014 By Amina J Mohammed What lessons can we learn from the MDGs? Ban Ki Moon’s special adviser on post-2015 development shares her to-do list: In 2000, world leaders came together and agreed to the eight millennium development goals – an unprecedented framework under which we have seen incredible progress against poverty and other challenges faced by the world’s most poor. But the world has changed radically in the last 15 years and we must now expand on progress, build on existing... Read the full article
Women's Economic Empowerment Key to Alleviating Poverty

Women's Economic Empowerment Key to Alleviating Poverty

curated 26 November 2014 By Elizabeth A. Vazquez Around the globe, women and girls make up 70 percent of the 1.5 billion people living on less than a dollar a day, and the key to addressing this issue begins with their economic empowerment. Business ownership is a powerful vehicle for women to build more assets, but, perhaps more importantly, investing in women yields high returns in poverty alleviation, economic growth and a country's general prosperity and stability. Read the full article
Sustainable poverty reduction and green growth
Photo Credit: CC-BY-ND Ollivier Girard / CIFOR

Sustainable poverty reduction and green growth

curated 21 November 2014 By Ulf Narloch Ending poverty and achieving shared prosperity will require more than economic growth. It will require pro-poor policies to be sustainable. The recently released Global Monitoring Report 2014/2015 focuses on the importance of sustainability as a means to enable countries to reach out to their poorest people over the medium term (to 2030) and long term (beyond 2030). Sustainability has several dimensions, which are all equally important and are all affected by... Read the full article
Can Business Help Finance the Post-2015 Agenda? Yes, But…
Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD at the 6th High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development. Photo Credit: CC BY-SA / UNCTAD

Can Business Help Finance the Post-2015 Agenda? Yes, But…

curated 15 November 2014 By Paul Ladd Diplomats and their governments are in the middle of a huge exercise to update the world's development agenda. For the last 14 years, governments and NGOs have rallied around the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of eight goals that aim to reduce the unacceptable manifestations of poverty in poorer parts of the world, with support provided by rich countries in the form of aid. While some progress has been made, governments have now Read the full article
14 ways to promote more responsible financial inclusion
Photo Credit: Kay McGowan, USAID, flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

14 ways to promote more responsible financial inclusion

curated 11 November 2014 By Rachel Banning-Lover Financial inclusion should make transferring money, saving money, and taking out small loans more secure and accessible for people in remote communities. But over the years some financial inclusion projects have exploited the very people they were designed to protect... How do we promote responsible practices in financial inclusion while supporting innovation? Outcomes of an expert panel discussion on the Financial inclusion hub of the Guardian's Global... Read the full article
GroFin’s investment for the future: Kenyan women entrepreneurs are good ‘jockeys’

GroFin’s investment for the future: Kenyan women entrepreneurs are good ‘jockeys’

guest 08 November 2014 By Rishi Khubchandani Recently, I participated in the 2014 SEED Africa Symposium , along with participants from 30 different countries who represented the government, private sector, academia and civil society. During the course of the event, which was held in Nairobi, there were several interesting discussions centered on increasing opportunities in Africa for small social and green enterprises, as well as empowering women entrepreneurs. GroFin , a small and growing business... Read the full article
Social and Green Enterprises – How to Create Enabling Frameworks to Increase their Contribution to Sustainable Development?
2014 SEED South Africa Winner greenABLE

Social and Green Enterprises – How to Create Enabling Frameworks to Increase their Contribution to Sustainable Development?

seed 04 November 2014 By Amélie Heuër Over the last four years SEED has hosted a series of unique multi-stakeholder for a focussed on the Green Economy and Africa - the SEED Symposia - where each year innovative and promising start-up enterprises, that won a SEED Award for their remarkable efforts to address social and environmental challenges at the grassroots, are presented. This year was no exception and while strolling through the Symposium Expo – a display of over 50 social eco-enterprises – in... Read the full article
3 Reasons Small Businesses Must Play a Large Role in Climate Change Resilience
USAID, flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

3 Reasons Small Businesses Must Play a Large Role in Climate Change Resilience

curated 03 November 2014 By Lisa Dougherty-Choux In most of the developed world, large corporations, such as those who pledged at the UN Climate Summit, are the main driver of economic growth and job creation. But that is not the case in most of the developing world, where micro- and small-sized businesses are the economic engines. Ensuring that the whole private sector has the capacity to adapt to climate change can support the resilience of populations everywhere. Here’s a look at the reasons why small... Read the full article
Role of business in disappearance of 50% of world's wildlife
Dr. Tarak N Khan, flickr, CC BY 2.0

Role of business in disappearance of 50% of world's wildlife

curated 31 October 2014 By Tansy Hoskins Among the findings of the WWF Living Planet Report 2014 was a particularly sobering fact: the global Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has registered a 52% decline in wildlife between 1970 and 2010. In the report Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, outlines how serious this is: “In less than two human generations, population sizes of... Read the full article
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
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