SEED announces winners of the 2021 SEED Awards

Berlin : Today, SEED announced the winners of the SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development (SEED Awards), at the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The winners and runners-up, who hail from nine countries across Africa and Asia, showcased their innovative and sustainable enterprises which contribute to climate adaptation and lower carbon use. The nine winners and 39 runners-up are eligible for participation in the renowned SEED Accelerator and Catalyser programmes, to help scale their enterprises and their impact.

In the SEED Low Carbon Awards in Africa, waste management companies were recognised, including Regenize, a Cape Town-based enterprise which gives out virtual cash in exchange for rubbish, and Ghanaian start-up, JVL-YKMA Recycling Plant which converts faecal sludge into fuel briquettes. Peec Energy from Uganda was also selected for its smart metering solutions for solar mini grids.

The SEED Low Carbon Award winners in Asia focused largely on enterprises utilising the circular economy model. Indian start-up PadCare Labs which creates recyclable materials out of soiled menstrual pads took home the Award, alongside Sampangan from Indonesia which converts waste into high-value, sustainable materials, and Thai start-up Moreloop which upcycles dead-stock fabrics to tackle waste in the fashion industry.

The winners of the SEED Climate Adaptation Awards includes Kalahari Honey in Botswana which trains farmers to use bees to stop elephants destroying their farms, Wuchi Wami in Zambia, which promotes sustainable bee farming, and EcoGen, a Malawian enterprise which turns leftover food into cooking gas.

Yves Wantens, General Representative of the Government of Flanders in the United States, commented: “When it comes to the impacts of climate change, countries like Malawi, Zambia and Botswana are on the front line. They are the ones who will feel the effects of a rise in global temperature most acutely. That is why we are so proud to support the SEED Awards, which recognise and scale the impact of eco-inclusive enterprises across these local communities. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, MSMEs are at the forefront of enabling green recovery and delivering on SDGs, for the good of the wider community and the planet.” The Government of Flanders is the primary sponsor of the SEED Climate Adaptation Awards.

The SEED Awards ceremony, taking place today at the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will also see SEED present its ‘Green Recovery Snapshot’ findings, which calls on governments, donors, and financial providers to increase targeted support for MSMEs as they stimulate economic growth in a post-COVID world. MSMEs are responsible for creating seven out of ten jobs across emerging markets, and green and social MSMEs deliver environmental and social impact through their activities, products, and services, making them essential actors in achieving a green recovery.

Winners of the SEED Awards will be awarded matching grants of between EUR 10,000 – 15,000 and will receive tailored one-to-one advisory services for up to a year to scale their operations, as part of the renowned SEED Accelerator programme. In line with the principle of ‘awarding the best and moving the rest’, 39 runners-up will also be supported through the SEED Catalyser programme, to refine their business models and optimise their impacts while advancing their investment readiness.

SEED’s Director of Operations, Rainer Agster, added: “The calibre of SEED Award entries this year was outstanding, and we extend our congratulations to all nine winners and 39 runners-up. We hope the enterprises identified and promoted by the SEED Awards will be a source of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs across emerging economies. Through the SEED Awards, we will support 48 enterprises in 2021, and through our other programmes, several hundreds more. For each of those, however, there are thousands more eco-inclusive enterprises furthering SDGs which can be amplified with the right support. Therefore, we strongly encourage policy makers and financial actors to take a closer look at these eco-inclusive businesses and start or scale support programmes for them.”

Of the 2021 SEED Awards cohort, 69 per cent of enterprise leaders are 18-35 years-old and 52 per cent are female-led enterprises. Since their inception in 2005, the SEED Awards have awarded 311 enterprises in 40 countries and have facilitated the disbursement of over EUR 1 million in grants. Each individual SEED enterprise has saved an average of 7,300 tonnes of CO2, generated more than 9,399 kWh of renewable energy, and created 28.4 jobs, out of which 32 per cent are offered to people at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP).

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