2017 SEED South Africa Symposium: Innovative Enterprise Solutions for an Eco-Inclusive and Climate-Resilient Society in South Africa

The SEED South Africa Symposium 2017 was held on April 19-20th in Pretoria. The event brought together enterprises, financial institutions, policy makers, business development service providers and representatives of the civil society to utilise the impacts of eco-inclusive enterprises for sustainable development in South and Southern Africa.


Pretoria, 20 April 2017. The private sector plays a critical role in fostering the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in South and Southern Africa. Already a number of small and medium sized enterprises provide suitable approaches to challenges around clean energy, climate-smart agriculture, waste management and recycling. But how do capitalise on this success, promote and replicate those eco-inclusive business models to trigger action towards an environmentally sustainable, climate change resilient, low-carbon economy and just society?

At the SEED South Africa Symposium around 120 participants from South and Southern Africa jointly developed ideas and approaches to tackle this challenge. With the generous support of the European Union and SWITCH Africa Green, the Government of Flanders, Industrial Development Corporation South Africa and LifeCo UnLtd South Africa the Symposium once again demonstrated its high value in collaboratively developing enabling conditions for eco-entrepreneurship in South Africa. The event was furthermore implemented back to back with the SA-EU Sustainability Transition Dialogue in Pretoria, one of five multi-stakeholder workshops organised by the Department of Environmental Affairs, a significant partner of SEED’s activities in South Africa.

With inspiring speeches, enriching panel discussions and highly interactive sessions the Symposium connected relevant insights on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and interrelated policies with concrete examples of eco-inclusive enterprises delivering economic, ecologic and social impacts in local communities of South Africa. SEED was honoured to welcome Arno Schaefer, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Pretoria, Geraldine Reymenants, General Representative of the Government of Flanders to Southern Africa and Alf Wills, Deputy Director-General of Environmental Affairs in South Africa providing valuable insights on how the private sector can play a key role in establishing a circular green and inclusive economy. SEED was furthermore delighted to highlight how two former SEED Award Winners and recipients of the SEED Accelerator programme successfully contribute to sustainable development on the local level. More insights on the two outstanding business cases of Botanica Natural Products and GreenABLE are available online. Drawing on their comprehensive experience key stakeholders from enterprises, the Business Development Service community as well as policy makers developed promising approaches to foster eco-inclusive entrepreneurship in overall five highly interactive sessions during the Symposium. A highlight for enterprises was provided by LifeCo UnLtd kicking off the South African Impact Entrepreneurs Network (SAIEN): A focused network BY entrepreneurs FOR entrepreneurs.

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