In the past 20 years, SEED has been supporting eco-inclusive enterprises: MSMEs that provide practical solutions to social and environmental problems. These enterprises create lasting collective impacts across their value chains, eliminating poverty as they serve communities at the base of the pyramid, while tackling environmental issues.
Yet, when SEED was founded at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg by UN Environment, UNDP, and IUCN as a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy, eco-inclusive MSMES were few, and the topic of climate-smart entrepreneurship was relatively in the periphery.
Today, the situation is different. There is enough evidence that eco-inclusive MSMEs create sustainable collective impacts across their value chains. In Ghana, some of these impact-creating eco-inclusive MSMEs mainly in the sectors of waste management, water and sanitation and agri-processing, have been supported by SEED in further developing their business models. Many of them have expanded, become more resilient and continue to operate at scale.
As part of SEED’s 20 Years celebration globally, a cocktail event was organised on 3rd August 2022 at Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra to celebrate and reflect on SEED’s work in Ghana. The event brought together stakeholders of SEED’s various programmes including beneficiary MSMEs, partners, and ecosystem players in the climate-smart entrepreneurship space.
In his opening remarks at the event, Mr. Oliver Boachie, the Special Advisor to the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI) urged SMEs and all players in the entrepreneurship promotion sector to take advantage of SEED’s programmes as well as several other initiatives at the Ministry that are geared toward supporting climate smart MSMEs to accelerate the transitioning of the Ghanaian economy to a green one.
SEED used the opportunity to reflect on its journey in supporting enterprises directly and building the ecosystem of eco-inclusive MSMEs in Ghana and globally. According to Mr. Jonas Restle-Steinert (Head of Acceleration Programmes at SEED Global): “Eco-inclusive enterprises are the real drivers of change and impact on the ground. Utilising their innovative potential and accelerating their growth is one of the most successful ways of achieving an economic transformation towards a greener and more equitable economy”
In Ghana, the establishment of the local SEED Ghana Hub has facilitated the support for the MSMEs through the
- SEED Starter: guides participants from the early stages of ideation to the generation of a viable eco-inclusive business plan.
- SEED Replicator: pairs aspiring entrepreneurs with established enterprises that have successfully implemented eco-inclusive business models in another location.
- SEED Awards: annual awards scheme designed to identify the most innovative and promising locally led start-up eco-inclusive enterprises in developing and emerging economies.
SEED has equally been enhancing the capacities of business development service providers with skills and tools through its Training of Trainers approach, thereby adding value to the ecosystem. In 2019 and 2020, SEED has engaged diverse practitioners to design innovative climate finance and policy products through its Practitioner Labs.
Through its 20 years of work, SEED has learnt several lessons including the need to; continue profiling the innovation potential of eco-inclusive SMEs; supporting local solutions for global challenges; enhancing the quality of financial and non-financial support among others.
According to Mr Ebenezer Kumi, SEED National Focal point in Ghana, such lessons will guide SEED’s programming and support for enterprises in Ghana, for the next coming years. He noted that, “just as SMEs continue to innovate, SEED will continue to innovate its services to better serve SMEs for tangible impacts for the global and the Ghanaian economy.”
Four Previous SEED Awardees: JVL-YKMA Recycling Plant, City Waste Recycling, Eco-Clean Ghana and Green Honey used the occasion to tell stories of their enterprises and their vision for the future.
SEED is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy that was founded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. SEED is based on the understanding that the promotion of social and environmental enterprises is pivotal to a world of flourishing communities where entrepreneurship drives sustainable development.
From an annual global awards scheme that scouts for and supports the most promising innovative and locally-led social and environmental start-up enterprises in developing countries to enhancing the quality and capacities of business development service providers – SEED build the ecosystem for social and environmental entrepreneurship.
SEED is hosted by adelphi research gGmbH, based in Berlin, Germany. Partners in SEED, in addition to the Founding Partners, are the Governments of Flanders, Germany, India, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United States of America; Conservation International; the European Union; Hogan Lovells; UNIDO; UN Women and SEED’s Corporate Partner, Hisense. For more information, please visit: www.seed.uno