2014 SEED South Africa Symposium: Advancing the Green Economy: creating jobs and opportunities for innovative green enterprises
On 19th and 20th March 2014, over 150 participants from government, private sector, media, academia, development, and civil society organisations, and including around 40 entrepreneurs, gathered at the CSIR in Pretoria to exchange experience, knowledge and perspectives that could advance the growth of socio-environmental entrepreneurship in South Africa.
Discussions centered on the impact of social and environmental start-ups in creating green jobs, barriers and success factors to the growth of social and environmental entrepreneurship, and then, in a dialogue between all participants, about how government, donors and other intermediaries can support the growth of social and environmental enterprises in South Africa. The focus here was on 6 major areas: access to finance, capacity building, legal issues, market information and access, the regulatory environment, and technology and innovation.
Finance for small, micro and medium-sized enterprises, especially those operating in the social entrepreneurship space, was recognized as a major bottleneck. In looking to solutions, the Symposium provided the launchpad for a new Social Enterprise Fund, set up by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with the support of the Government of Flanders which will come into effect on 1 April 2014.
The Symposium also provided participants with the opportunity to engage with the SEED Winners from South Africa: innovative start-up enterprises that offer sustainable and scalable solutions to social and environmental challenges.
A video of the symposium and a summary report that also covers the solutions can be found below.