Innovative projects to be awarded

01 Mar 2008


The SEED Initiative is opening the call for submissions for the SEED Awards 2008. The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual international competition, designed to support innovative, entrepreneurial partnerships in developing countries which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability.

New Horizons - The SEED Initiative assists young and promising initiatives in strengthening and scaling up the impact of their activities. The award is not monetary: it consists of a comprehensive package of tailor-made support services, to the value of $25,000.

The support services respond to the challenges that emerging partnerships face when planning and implementing new ideas, including access to relevant expertise and technical assistance, meeting new partners and building networks, developing business plans and identifying sources of finance. 

The SEED Award recognizes and rewards two levels of winners:

·       fifteen finalists who will be publicized and receive limited support through capacity development activities. Finalists will be chosen from developing countries in each of the 4 UN regional groups: Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. There will be 3 finalists from each region except Asia, from which 6 finalists will be selected.

·       five Global Award Winners, selected from the pool of finalists, who will receive the full ‘SEED Award’ of support services, which will be delivered over a period of 6-12 months. The nature of the support services will depend on the needs that the Winners identify and will be developed jointly with them.

In addition to receiving support services, Winners in 2007 were celebrated at Awards ceremonies in their home countries and invited to SEED’s International Partnerships Forum and Workshop in South Africa. SEED intends to do the same, and more, in 2008.

The fifteen finalists will be announced during the 16th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, May 2008.

Award Winners will be announced during June 2008.

Who is eligible to apply?

We welcome innovative ideas from any group in a developing country, which is working in partnership with others to generate environmental and social benefits in an entrepreneurial way.

To be eligible your entrepreneurial partnership must:

·       be in the planning and set-up phase or in the early stages of implementation

·       be driven by local actors;

·       involve at least three partner organizations that have already agreed in principle to work together and that come from three different stakeholder groups such as small, medium or large businesses; community-based organizations; local or international NGOs; labour unions; women’s groups; indigenous peoples organizations; research institutions; public authorities; international agencies;

·       display entrepreneurship in its broadest sense,

·       help to demonstrate innovative ways of doing business through partnerships and has the potential to serve as inspiration to others;

·       have potential to grow, with a sound financial rationale and a draft business plan

·       relate to the three pillars of sustainable development: finding new ways of simultaneously improving incomes and strengthening livelihoods; tackling poverty and marginalisation; and managing and conserving natural resources and ecosystems.

·       have the potential to contribute towards the internationally agreed goals of the UN’s Millennium Declaration and/or the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Previous Award Winners have included a community-led marine protected area in Madagascar; a combined biogas and water treatment plant in Nigeria; developing international markets for Peruvian native potatoes; a traditional healing village in Sierra Leone; and adding value to traditional medicinal plants in Vietnam.

Information on previous Winners of the SEED Awards is available at as well as the detailed selection criteria which will be applied during the judging process.

How to apply

Application forms can be downloaded from the SEED Initiative website

Completed submissions should be sent to If you are unable to submit your application electronically, please contact the SEED Initiative by phone (+49 30 89 00 068-10).

Submissions will be accepted from February 1st until March 16th 2008. Only complete submissions will be considered.

About the SEED Initiative

“Supporting Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development” – the SEED Initiative – is a global network for action on sustainable development partnerships, founded by IUCN, UNEP and UNDP, to deliver concrete progress towards the internationally-agreed, aspirational goals in the UN’s Millennium Declaration and the commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.

SEED focuses on locally-driven, entrepreneurial partnerships in developing countries. Its goal is to inspire, promote and build capacity to support the many innovative ways in which diverse groups are working together to improve incomes and strengthen livelihoods; tackle poverty and marginalisation; and manage and conserve natural resources and ecosystems.

Through an annual, global awards scheme SEED reveals a wealth of novel ways of doing business through partnerships and provides international recognition to the most promising enterprises.

SEED Award Winners then receive a tailored package of support services to help them to become established and to increase their impact.  This includes access to relevant expertise and technical assistance, meeting new partners and building networks, developing business plans and identifying sources of finance.

By tracking their progress as they grow, SEED also seeks to increase technical knowledge and understanding of these small-scale, locally-led activities. It studies what partnerships like these need to succeed and grow and how successful ideas can be replicated elsewhere. 

SEED then uses its extensive network, publications and events to promote these innovative approaches, to disseminate its findings to partnerships practitioners and policy and decision-makers and to provide a platform for shared learning and collaboration.

SEED Partners            

Partners in the SEED Initiative are IUCN (the World Conservation Union); the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and the governments of the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. SEED also works closely with GlobalGiving and the UN’s Global Compact.