The SEED Africa Symposium is an annual international forum for sharing knowledge and experience, establishing partnerships, and developing solutions to stimulate the growth of social and eco-entrepreneurship.
Building Bridges for Impact was the goal for this year’s Symposium. More than 500 entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, practitioners and policy makers examined emerging trends in the green and entrepreneurship space and looked into ways of constructing new bridges to amplify the impact of social and eco-enterprises. Special attention was also given to the role of eco-entrepreneurship in the Post-2015 agenda.
The Symposium will be back in Nairobi in 2016. We hope to see you again next year. In the meantime follow us on social media and through our newsletter to get regular updates.
Highlights of this year’s Symposium
Substantial challenges for SMMEs can only be met by powerful networks
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 (SDGs) and Post-2015 agenda. Concurrently small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) 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 Exposition which ran tête-à-tête with the SEED South 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 rewarded by the SEED Award 2015
This year’s 27 SEED Award Winners represent the most innovative and promising social and eco-start-up enterprises selected of more than 500 applications from 55 countries. Supported by the European Union, the Government of Flanders, Hisense, UN Women, Hogan Lovells and adelphi the Symposium kicked-off a one-year business development support programme to establish and grow further. Find out more about the SEED Winners 2015 here.
Turning Ideas into Impact: Setting the Stage for the next 10 Years of Green and Inclusive Growth through Entrepreneurship
The SEED Africa Symposium 2015 marked the SEED Award’s 10 year anniversary. The success story is now captured with a 10 year Flagship Report launched at the Symposium. Around 200 SEED Winners created thousands of jobs along their value chain, providing often especially women and the youth alternative income opportunities. With their positive impacts on local communities they have become frontrunners of sustainable development. Download the SEED 10 Year Flagship Report here.
Launch of iLearn by UN Women: As part of the Empowerwomen’s Learning Center the global mobile-learning platform iLearn for and by women entrepreneurs offers stories “behind the business plan”. How did your enterprise arrive at success and which challenges did you face along the way? What is your motivation and personal drive? What are knowledge and skills you acquired to evolve in business? Find out more and get involved here.
Insights from the World Bank’s Social Enterprise Ecosystem Diagnostic: 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: 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 SEEDAS 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, - a 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; within the Health or Agri-Food sectors. Are you looking for a new and effective way to grow your enterprise? Find out more about the programme here and about the launch-event at SEED Africa Symposium 2015 here.
First SEEDAS Investor Forum
The SEED Africa Symposium marked the launch of the SEED-IBA Investor Forum. The event offered 15 Alumni 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 India and Columbia in 2016. More information here.
Further perspectives on the Symposium
How can investors & enterprises collaborate to grow? 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 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.