Promoting Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development


SEED is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy.  SEED was founded by UNEP, UNDP and IUCN at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. SEED supports innovative and locally-driven eco-inclusive enterprises around the globe who integrate social and environmental benefits into their business models.


The goal of SEED is to support the ability of such enterprises to scale up or replicate their activities. This furthers their contribution to their local economies and communities while promoting sustainable development. SEED does this through by running various programmes.

SEED Programmes

  • SEED Awards:  an annual award scheme which provides a package of capital and capacity-building support to competition winners.
  • SEED Starter: promotes the incubation of new eco-enterprises through supporting young team of entrepreneurs with innovative ideas .
  • SEED BDS+:  builds the capacities of local business development services providers through ‘Training of Trainers’ workshops.
  • SEED Replicator:supports the uptake and adaptation of proven business models to different markets in order to multiply positive sustainability impacts.
  • SEED GoSustainable: workshop enables conventional enterprises to integrate low-income groups into their value chain and to create a positive impact on the environment.
  • SEED Symposium: forum for sharing knowledge and experience, establishing partnerships, and developing solutions to stimulate the growth of eco-inclusive entrepreneurship.

“SEED is all about helping spur innovation that protects our natural environment and accelerates development,” says Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment“Past winners have delivered grass-roots solutions on issues including waste management, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. They see environmental protection not as a cost or a burden, but as an opportunity. As such, they are laying the foundations for what our planet needs: a fundamental shift towards a green economy.”

“Ecological business models have a huge role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “We congratulate this year’s SEED Winners for demonstrating that business really can be profitable whilst respecting nature and the environment. Their innovative ideas, supported by SEED and partner organizations, stand as examples for other businesses that are striving to fight poverty and climate change in ways that are sustainable.”

“In the context of perhaps our greatest global challenge – meeting growing consumer demands while managing increasingly overburdened natural resources, many eco-inclusive enterprises, such as those recognised in this year’s SEED Awards, are turning challenges into opportunities and, in so doing, are part of a vital step change in the way we do business,” says IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. “It is this new generation of entrepreneurs, and their solutions-oriented thinking, that will help us achieve a sustainable global economy that works with nature rather than against it.”




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Agribusiness, Clean technology, Renewable energy, Waste management and recycling, Water, sanitation and hygiene



    • SEED Awards 2021

      by SEED

      Recognising achievements of eco-inclusive enterprises globally.

      Past Program
    • SEED Awards 2019

      by SEED

      Take your enterprise to the next level

      Past Program
    • SEED Awards

      by SEED

      Promoting entrepreneurship for sustainable development

      Past Program