Nairobi plays host to one of the largest gatherings of start-up social and environmental enterprises ever, as 41 green entrepreneurs are celebrated at the 2014 SEED Awards Africa Symposium, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.
The SEED Awards identify and support innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises which can tackle key sustainable development challenges at community level, in developing and emerging economies. As in previous years, the 2014 SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa, with 28 Awards made to enterprises in Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. A further ten SEED Low Carbon Awards go to climate-smart enterprises across the globe that contribute towards grassroots climate change mitigation and/or adaption. Special recognition is also given to three women-led enterprises that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as their core objectives.
Every SEED Award Winner will receive a financial contribution, technical assistance, access to different supporting institutions, and tailor-made support to develop their business and skills.
From an enterprise that produces premium outdoor furniture out of recycled plastic and organic waste materials in Colombia, to a women’s farming cooperative that improves food security in Nepal, to enterprises that market solar electricity kiosks in rural off grid areas of Malawi and promote bikes as subsidised moving billboards for the rural poor in Mozambique – this year’s SEED Winners again demonstrate that innovation, working in partnerships, and a dedicated focus on sustainability contribute significantly towards building a world of flourishing communities in which eco-entrepreneurship drives sustainable development.
The 2014 call for applications saw contributions from 84 countries, representing the collaborative efforts of partnerships between enterprises, non-governmental organizations, women’s and youth groups, labour organizations, public authorities, international agencies, and academia. Most of the applications were in the agricultural and rural development sectors; others were in energy and climate change, and ecosystem management. Many entries at the same time addressed IT applications, and education and training.
All the 2014 SEED winners were honoured at a high-level International Awards Ceremony at The Nairobi Safari-Park Hotel in Kenya. The Award winners will receive from SEED a package of individually tailored support for their businesses, technical assistance, access to other supporting institutions, and a financial contribution of US$5,000.
The winners were selected by the independent SEED International Jury of experts (details below).
The International Awards Ceremony was a highlight of the SEED Africa Symposium, which brought together over 250 entrepreneurs and business people, policymakers, and representatives from civil society and support institutions from across Africa around the theme “Making growth sustainable: co-creating solutions through social and green entrepreneurship.”