The SEED Blog

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
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
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