The SEED Awards 2019 highlight the contribution of Asia’s green and social enterprises to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals
Oct 24, 2019

Bangkok, Thailand, Berlin, Germany, 24 October 2019 --( ASIA TODAY )-- Tackling poverty and climate change, generating employment opportunities and contributing to economic development, this year’s 14 SEED Award winners were selected from over nine hundred applicants and are recognised for solutions to major local and global challenges.

Take Thailand enterprise Fang Thai, which creates 100% ecological non-harmful, green packaging from rice straw paper products, employing the local community. Or Indonesian enterprise Mycotech, which creates fungi leather material and products. Their 100% vegan and zero waste philosophy is an example to a fashion industry which is one of the most polluting in the world. Then there is farm to fork company Aikya Organics, the company is working with 1200 women farmers from six districts of Uttar Pradesh who are practicing zero budget natural farming. Besides training, organising and market access, they sell the resulting organic products.

This year’s SEED Awards recognise 14 innovative start-up enterprises, among which 3 winners and 12 finalists from Thailand, India and Indonesia, active in sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, waste, renewable energy, water and sanitation, sustainable tourism, biodiversity and conservation. SEED Award Winners are exceptional and inspiring examples of partnership-based, locally-driven enterprises that contribute to fighting poverty and climate change in their communities and countries.

Ms Svenja Schulze, German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), one of the main supporters of the Awards, highlighted the importance of these enterprises in advancing the SDGs: “To achieve the SDGs, everyone needs to contribute. The private sector, including small enterprises, has huge potential to move forward the fast and fair transition in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This award highlights the innovative potential of small green and social enterprises and showcases the economic and social opportunities for often marginalized communities. It serves as a great motivation for others to follow.”

This year’s winners were selected from over 900 applicants from Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Youth-led enterprises led the way, comprising 62% of overall applications and 48% of the applications were from female-led enterprises.

"The winners of the SEED Awards are unique in that they deliver grass-roots products and services which benefit not only the environment -- but also local economies and particular groups such as women and youth,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “As such, they are contributing to the resilience of communities, a fundamental shift towards a more inclusive green economy and broader efforts to achieve the SDGs.”

As well as being awarded matching grants, winning and finalist enterprises will also receive tailored one-onone advisory services for several months to validate and grow their operations. The SEED winners will join the SEED Accelerator programme to refine their financial and business models with a view to scaling up and replicating their activities. SEED believes in awarding the best and moving the rest. In line with this principle, 52 finalists will be supported through the SEED Catalyser programme, to refine their business models and optimise their impacts while advancing their investment readiness. The winners will join a network of more than 240 enterprises from 38 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America - laureates of the SEED Awards. The 2019 winner & finalist profiles can be found on SEED website here.

SEED Executive Director, Lewis Akenji highlighted the importance of the awards: “the SEED Awards have a refined process of working with partners to identify future-oriented solutions. Winning enterprises are sure to impact their communities with solutions that can be adapted in other locations and scaled to contribute to address global issues. We encourage entrepreneurs, development partners, policy makers and implementers to take a closer look at these eco-inclusive businesses and draw from them to amplify their impacts.”

The winning enterprises were selected by an independent jury of local and international business and development experts. Further details about the awards jury 2019 can be found on SEED website here.

About the SEED Awards
The SEED Low Carbon Awards 2019 in Ghana, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda are sponsored by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The SEED Africa Awards 2019 in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and SEED South Africa Climate Adaptation Awards 2019 in South Africa are sponsored by the Government of Flanders.

About SEED
SEED, founded in 2002, is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy. SEED believes entrepreneurship is key in driving sustainable development. Its enterprise support programmes in Asia and Africa support small and growing enterprises with business and capacity-building support. Its ecosystem programmes focus on policy, financing and collaboration instruments that multiply the social, environmental and economic impacts of entrepreneurship. SEED was founded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

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