2014 SEED Awards Celebrate African, Low-Carbon and Women’s Enterprises
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A total of 41 enterprises from Africa and elsewhere have received the 2014 SEED Award, which celebrates innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises in developing and emerging economies tackling key sustainable development challenges at community level.

The awards were announced during the 2014 SEED Awards Africa Symposium, held from 10-11 September 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Seed10 September 2014: A total of 41 enterprises from Africa and elsewhere have received the 2014 SEED Award, which celebrates innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises in developing and emerging economies tackling key sustainable development challenges at community level. The awards were announced during the 2014 SEED Awards Africa Symposium, held from 10-11 September 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Prioritizing enterprises in Africa, 28 of the 2014 winners are from countries in the region: Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Ten awards were given to low-carbon, ‘climate-smart’ enterprises across the world, and three to women-led enterprises promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The winners will receive a financial contribution of US$5,000, technical assistance, access to supporting institutions, and tailored business and skills development support.

Examples of SEED Africa Award winners include: ‘Asrat & Helawi Engineering Partnership’ from Ethiopia, which manufactures and sells cookstoves heated with electricity, biogas or ethanol that reduce fuel costs and indoor pollution-related health risks, and create local jobs; ‘Electricity4All’ from Malawi, which sells and rents solar battery kits and accessories at kiosks in rural, off-grid areas to help rural entrepreneurs power their businesses, reduce energy costs, contribute to forest protection, and eliminate the use of toxic batteries; and ‘Recycling for Environmental Recovery’ from Morocco, which recycles plastic waste into secondary raw materials for the plastics industry, and trains and empowers its women workers on health and safety, and collective organization.

A 2014 SEED Low Carbon Award winner from India, ‘Frontier Markets,’ provides rural low-income families with affordable solar energy lanterns, torches and home-lighting systems that help customers reduce energy expenses and use of polluting fuel sources. A Gender Equality Award winner, ‘JITA Social Business’ provides jobs and regular income for Bangladeshi women from low socioeconomic communities through an innovative rural distribution network selling a range of products from solar lamps to food and sanitary items.

Contributions from 84 countries responded to the 2014 SEED Awards call, with the majority coming from the agricultural and rural development sectors. The winners were selected by an independent, 30-member jury of experts. The International Awards Ceremony, held during the 2014 SEED Africa Symposium under the theme ‘Making Growth Sustainable: Co-creating Solutions through Social and Green,’ attracted 250 participants from various stakeholder groups in Africa.

SEED was founded at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and is hosted by adelphi, a think tank based in Germany. [UNEP Press Release] [SEED Initiative Website] [SEED 2014 Winners]