SEED works towards a world of flourishing communities where social and environmental entrepreneurship drives sustainable development. The SEED annual awards identify and support the most promising and innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises in developing and emerging economies. Since 2005, 175 SEED Winners have been selected by SEED International, and in 2009 Natural Justice was a Gold Winner for their Biocultural Community Protocols Initiative.
Cath Traynor represented Natural Justice at the 2015 SEED South Africa Symposium: Entrepreneurship: A solution for climate change and green growth, held at the Birchwood Hotel, Johannesburg, 27 May. The symposium focused on two main issues: building bridges for partnerships, especially between entrepreneurs and academia for development and innovation, and adapting the policy and financing landscape to better support the development of social and environmental enterprises.
During the interactive sessions, it was discussed that Social and Environmental enterprises face challenges as they are not recognized as specifically different entities compared to other small and medium enterprises, yet they try to address wider issues and are not solely profit-driven. In terms of science and technology, many entrepreneurs commented that research is often driven by the needs of academia, and they recommended that a closer working relationship could produce research designs and results which could then contribute towards improving products and processes. Furthermore, publicly funded research should be open and accessible to all, so that entrepreneurs could access it and feed into in to their activities. In terms of policy and procurement, participants commented that certification schemes and consumer information could assist to show the value and quality of the products and processes produced by social and environmental enterprises.
During the Symposium SEED launched its Virtual Exhibition and SEED Winners’ Case Studies, which allows one to look into all aspects of SEEDs activities and see how the enabling environment that is being built for social and environmental entrepreneurs.