2015 SEED Africa Symposium: Building Bridges for Impact: Green and Inclusive Growth through Entrepreneurship

2015 SEED Africa Symposium: Building Bridges for Impact: Green and Inclusive Growth through Entrepreneurship

More than 500 entrepreneurs, researchers, policy makers and representatives of the civil society from 30 countries joined the SEED Africa Symposium on September 9-10th, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Focusing on the overarching theme Building Bridges for Impact the annual Symposium once again demonstrated its value as an inspiring platform for promoting green and inclusive growth through entrepreneurship. Reason for celebrations were not just the 27 outstanding enterprises who received the SEED Award in a festive International Award Ceremony, but also the fact that the event marked one decade of SEED Awards. For this occasion, the 10 Year SEED Flagship Report was published sharing comprehensive experiences from working with more than 200 SEED Winners since 2005.

We summarized some of the most important moments of #SEEDAS15 below and the SEED Winners recount what they took home from the Symposium in the summary video:

Substantial challenges for SMMEs can only be met by powerful networks

South-South Exhibition The vivid discussions outlined two important aspects: locally-driven social and environmental entrepreneurship applying green and inclusive business models will have a significant contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and Post-2015 agenda. Concurrently small, micro and medium enterprises still face substantial challenges regarding human resources or funding. These hurdles can only be met by powerful networks and collaborations of entrepreneurs, investors and further stakeholders. The South-South Exhibition that ran tête-à-tête with the SEED Africa Symposium made a first move in connecting similar enterprises across geographies to help speed up development, technology learnings and financial innovations.

27 outstanding enterprises were honoured with a SEED Award 2015

SEED Winners 2015 This year’s 27 SEED Award Winners represent the most innovative and promising social and environmental enterprises from more than 500 applications from 55 countries. Supported by the European Union, the Government of Flanders, Hisense, UN Women, Hogan Lovells and adelphi those enterprise were honoured during an International Awards Ceremony. Find out more about the SEED Winners 2015 here.

Presentation of SEED's 10 Year Flagship Report: Turning Ideas into Impact

IMG 0220s On the occassion of the 10-year anniversary of the SEED Awards (2005-2015), SEED published a 10 Year Flagship Report Turning Ideas into Impact at the Africa Symposium. The report looks at the 175 enterprise that received a SEED Award in the last ten years and outlines how those enterprises have become frontrunners of sustainable development. Download the SEED 10 Year Flagship Report here.

Launch of iLearn by UN Women

iLearn by UN Women At #SEEDAS15 UN Women launched iLearn - a global mobile learning platform where women entrepreneurs share with you the decisions that led to their success. Learn about their strong motivation, personal drive, knowledge and skills. How did their enterprise arrive at success and which challenges did they face along the way? What is their motivation and personal drive?  Find out more and get involved here.

Insights from the World Bank’s Social Enterprise Ecosystem Diagnostic:

Shaping Green and Inclusive private sector policies in Sub-Saharan Africa As part of the session “Shaping Green and Inclusive Private Sector Policies”, the World Bank and IFC presented the first findings of their current social enterprise ecosystem diagnostic. See the presentation here. The discussions highlighted some of the key barriers at the policy level and areas where action from governments, donors and intermediaries is needed.


First GIZ „Practitioners‘ Dialogue on Climate Investments“ in Africa

Making Markets more Inclusive The “Practitioners’ Dialogue on Climate Investments” aims to advance dialogue on how governments in developing countries and emerging economies can engage the businesses and the financial sectors in climate-resilient and low-emission growth. The network hosted its first meeting in Africa at SEEDAS15 around the topic “Shaping Renewable Energy Markets in Africa – how international climate finance can support unlocking the potential of SMEs”.

Launch of Connect to Grow

Connect to Grow Connect to Grow is the first-of-its-kind UK DFID-funded programme, delivered by IMC Worldwide and their partners. The programme will foster growth and innovation through partnership creation between enterprises in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Are you looking for a new and effective way to grow your enterprise? Find out more about the programme here or about the launch-event at the SEED Africa Symposium 2015 here.

First SEED-IBA Investor Forum

IMG 8416s The SEED Africa Symposium marked the launch of the SEED-IBA Investor Forum. The event offered 15 SEED Winners an outstanding opportunity to deepen their knowledge on raising capital and to present their enterprises to investors and other funding institutions. Further SEED-IBA Investor Forums are set to take place in Asia and Latin America in 2016. More information is available here

Further perspectives on the Symposium

VC4Africa co-organized a session with SEED which gave investors the opportunity to pitch in front of about 75 social entrepreneurs. Find out about this reverse pitching here. Furthermore Carolin Schramm from the Inclusive Business Hub sums up some of the challenges faced by inclusive businesses looking to access impact investment. The session on designing inclusive value chains hosted by the Inclusive Business Action Network (IBAN) outlined the importance of knowledge exchange and reflection between companies. Have a look at significant insights captured by Mareike Grytz here.

For those who didn’t have the chance to join us this year, check out the storify of day 1 and day 2

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