2016 SEED Africa Symposium: Replicating Successful Business Models for Impact

NAIROBI: How can we promote the uptake of eco-entrepreneurship by replicating successful business models to more communities, regions and new markets? This key question was discussed by over 450 researchers, practitioners, investors, policymakers and civil society members at this year’s SEED Africa Symposium from 28-29 September in Nairobi. The Symposium was brought to life with the generous support of several partners including SWITCH Africa Green implemented by UNEP with the support of the European Union, UN Women, UNEP, the Government of Flanders and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Over two days, the highly interactive event provided several opportunities to share knowledge and perspectives, to jointly develop ideas and to broaden networks. Panel and roundtable discussions and parallel sessions, which included over 30 speakers and 35 moderators, focused on all stages of business development within the topic of replication, tackling storytelling, training opportunities for enterprises as well as policy dialogues. The full programme is available here.

This year, SEED published a study on Replication as an antecedent to the Symposium. The urgency of the Sustainable Development Goals combined with the amount of people in impoverished situations in developing economies calls not always for innovation, but replication of business models that already work, in order to rapidly increase the well being of a large number of local communities. 


"In smaller economies, it will be better to
replicate than to innovate […]. We seem to be
moving beyond the hype of innovation to 
the rapid spread of executable solutions

 "Don’t reinvent the wheel if it exists


As part of the Symposium's opening statements, Ligia Noronha, Director of UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) stressed the theme of replication: "Replication is a key theme to foster green growth and sustainable development."

Ligia Market Trans quote

A highlight of the event was the highly anticipated announcement of the 2016 SAG-SEED Award Winners, SEED Award Winners and one SEED Gender Equality Award Winner. 

DAV 3973 copyComing from eight African countries and representing five different sectors, SEED pre-workshops helped these 20 eco-inclusive enterprises prepare themselves to pitch their enterprises to the entire SEED Africa Symposium on Day 1. Read more about the Winners and their announcement at the Symposium here.

Through the generous support of the Government of Flanders, SEED also announced two further SEED Accelerators, Hortinet from Malawi and Mozambikes from Mozambique. These former SEED Award Winners are looking to deliver their social and environmental solutions on a larger scale. The positive impacts of the SEED Accelerator programme were outlined by two former SEED accelerators who were generously supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.


The SEED support will help you to advance your business model, improve your financial management and connection with financial support”, said Gabriel Okello from Green Heat Uganda. “Through the Accelerator programme we got in touch with new partners which helped us to initiate a replication process in other Indian provinces”, complemented Tafadzwa Chiganga from Frontier Markets with a view to replication activities.

So far, feedback has reflected sentiments of not just inspiration, insights, knowledge sharing and networking, but of how they can be translated into action plans. “We’re not here listening, you really make us pick our brains to develop solutions”, commented Vivian of SAG-SEED Award Winner City Waste Recycling in Ghana. Lungelwa of Winner SAG-SEED Award Winner SolarTurtle in South Africa added, “It has been an invaluable experience - other programmes give money, but this has given us so much more.” Laban of Kenyan SAG-SEED Award Winner Green Roads attested, “I learned many things, but in a simple way.”

Click to see how the event was captured via social media updates through the hashtag #SEEDAS16 on both Twitter and Facebook.

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