Green businesses to take root in SEED Awards

A Milkweed seedling. Photo by: Samuel / CC BY-NC

Are you venturing to make bamboo a substitute for timber, promote the use of groundnut shell briquettes and fuel-efficient stoves or perhaps engaging in another locally-driven, cutting-edge enterprise?

The SEED Awards 2013 opened on April 16, promising a tailor-made support package for “innovative and inspiring social and environmental entrepreneurs” looking to expand their business, a U.N. Environment Program press release says.

The awards, sponsored by the UNEP co-founded SEED Initiative, support social and environmental start-up enterprises in emerging, developing and least-developed countries.

Winners can look forward to expert advice on creating their business plans, customized workshops on skills enhancement and “high-level profiling of their enterprises through an international network of businesses, governments and development institutions.”

The following awards are up for grabs in 2013:

  • 15 SEED Awards to enterprises in Ethiopia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda

  • 5 SEED Awards for enterprises in South Africa

  • 3 SEED Awards for enterprises in the South African provinces of Free State, Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal

  • 10 SEED Low Carbon Awards for enterprises in Colombia, India, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam

  • 2 SEED Gender Equality Awards, for enterprises in other countries (except countries that are OECD or EU members)

The jury is searching for entrepreneurs that contribute to making “green economy a reality at the grassroots,” while generating “employment and new livelihoods, train local communities, and use natural resources in a sustainable manner.”

To be considered for an award, candidates must:

   a) Demonstrate entrepreneurship and innovation;   b) Deliver economic, social and environmental benefits;   c) Have the intention and potential to become financially sustainable;   d) Involve a partnership between different stakeholder groups;   e) Be locally-driven or locally-led;   f) Have potential for scale-up or significant replication;   g) Be in the early stages of implementation, and;   h) Be in a country with a developing or emerging economy

The 2013 winners will join the likes of community-based businesses promoting aloe vera products, the transformation of crop yields into the food product achar and Egyptian handicrafts, among other past winners.

The awards are financed by the European Union, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the government of Flanders, the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the U.N. Industrial Development Organization and international law firm Hogan Lovells.

The SEED Awards 2013 application period will close on midnight of June 12.

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About the author

  • Johanna Morden

    Johanna Morden is a community development worker by training and a global development journalist by profession. As a former Devex staff writer based in Manila, she covered the Asian Development Bank as well as Asia-Pacific's aid community at large. Johanna has written for a variety of international publications, covering social issues, disasters, government, ICT, business, and the law.