seed 2021

SEED Awards

Recognising achievements of eco-inclusive enterprises globally.

“…SEED has helped us so much by training us in various aspects, like marketing strategies…how to approach our buyers and clients. We did not know that, we have never had training. …The SEED Award is so special because it comes with a training package that goes directly to people who work with the women.”
Adisa Lansah Yakubu
Shea Economic Empowerment Program

“This award gives us recognition especially locally and internationally and we believe we get more funding opportunities to expand our network. At the same time the support SEED is giving, especially the technical support is really important …. we take that as an important point for REN to expand its network and provide better services for the rural farmers and producers.”
Nilantha Athapattu
Rural Enterprise Network (REN) Sri Lanka

“SEED is opening us up to a whole different avenue that we had never thought of before, so it’s really adding a lot of value.” Bevlen Sudhu

“The SEED Award is one of the most motivating things that has happened to us. Finally, someone who realises that what we do has significant global benefit.”
Pauline Nantongo Kalunda
Trees for Global Benefit

“SEED is offering invaluable international networking. It is supporting us and opens doors accessing international markets for organic products. This is very crucial because once we have the market we can work on a better price for our suppliers.”
Francecah Munyi
Organic Farm Inputs and Farm Produce (KOFAr Ltd)

Are you part of a small and growing eco-inclusive enterprise that continues to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits to your target markets?

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to identify the most innovative and promising locally led start-up eco-inclusive enterprises in developing and emerging economies. Each year, multiple award categories are offered, ranging from country- or region-specific awards to thematic categories.

SEED Award Winners and Runners-up are eligible for participation in our Accelerator and Catalyser programmes, respectively. Our Catalyser and Accelerator support high-achieving enterprises to scale up and optimise their eco-inclusive impacts.

SEED Awards 2021 is now open for applications!
Create your SEED Account to start your application.
Application deadline is on 31 March 2021.

What does the SEED Award Prize offer?

As a SEED Award Winner or Runner-up you will receive a customised SEED Support Package, which includes the tools and guidance required for your enterprise to emerge from the start-up stage and effectively scale-up the positive environmental, social and economic benefits which you deliver to your target markets.

The SEED Support Package is delivered through our Accelerator programme (for Winners) and Catalyser programme (for Runners-Up).


Participate in Business Planning Workshop and receive one-on-one Expert Advisory services on business and financial planning for scale up of eco-inclusive enterprise activities.


Receive multiple opportunities for your enterprise to be profiled at a high-level Awards Ceremony, through global SEED communication networks and via your own SEED Enterprise Profile.


Apply SEED Toolkit of collaborative and hands-on design thinking methods to identify enterprise development priorities for funding strategising, stakeholder mapping and impact measurement.


Access SEED’s extensive network of established eco-inclusive enterprises, funders, and policy-makers, including previous Award Winners and Ecosystem Building programme participants.

Who selects SEED Award Winners?

The SEED Awards Jury – an independent panel of experts from various fields of sustainable development – has generously offered its time to help identify the most promising partnerships from the many applications received each year for various SEED Awards schemes. To ensure consistency of approach, the Jury always contains several Jurors from previous years.

SEED Award Recipient criteria

Enterprises which fulfil the following requirements are invited to apply to be a SEED Award recipient. Please click on each criterion check mark ( ) for more information:

The activities covered by the enterprise described in the application should be entrepreneurial and innovative, for example delivering new services to communities locally or regionally, bringing a new product to market, or developing a new, effective and financially sustainable way of delivering environmental and social benefits.

Demonstrate entrepreneurship and innovation

SEED expects applications from enterprises working in many different sectors. Any application will be considered as long as it fulfils these eligibility criteria and therefore has the potential to contribute towards eco-inclusive impacts, which means enterprise should integrate economic, social and environmental aspects into the business model. SEED is looking for enterprise that can make a significant contribution to sustainable development by delivering:

  • social benefits such as community organisation, empowerment and employment, health or education benefits, or access to essential services; and
  • environmental benefits such as reduced carbon emissions, waste or pollution, or protecting biodiversity and ecosystems; and
  • economic benefits including income generation to their partners and contributing towards local economic development.

SEED will also be looking at the integration of components that respect and advance gender equity and balance.

Deliver economic, social and environmental benefits

The partners should have ambitions for growth and strong potential for increased impact on the ground, either through growth of the enterprise and/or replication elsewhere. Award winners usually also have the potential to serve as inspiration to others. The needs of the enterprise should fit well with the kinds of support SEED can offer.

Have potential to scale-up and/or be replicated in other contexts

The enterprise has to be in the set-up phase and in the early stages of implementation. There should be proof of concept with evidence of some early impact.

SEED seeks applications that reflect innovative, forward-thinking, and realistic ideas for new products and services. Enterprises, which are currently being formed and are in the early stages of implementation are eligible for the SEED Award. Partners should have agreed in principle to work together, even if there are no formal agreements yet in place. It is of interest for the SEED Award whether enterprises have already attracted partial or full funding. The main aim of SEED and its partners is to assist with the difficult transition from start-up to establishment.

The enterprise should have a draft business plan, but will only be asked to submit the plan if shortlisted. Winning enterprises will demonstrate a good business rationale and give strong indications of significant economic, environmental and social benefits in the future.

Are at early stages of implementation

Applicants should be able to explain how the enterprise will be financially viable in the long term. Each applying enterprise should have a sound business rationale. SEED can help winners to develop their ideas but a draft business plan should be already in place.

Have intention and potential to become financially stable

SEED is looking for sustainable development solutions, which are created through different types of organisations or stakeholders working together in partnership. To be eligible, this means the enterprise must involve at least three different partners (including main applicant), from different stakeholder groups, which have already agreed to work together. Partners can be any international/national organisation, investor, research institute, supplier, governmental bodies/agencies, NGOs, other social enterprise, development organisation etc.

Are a partnership between different stakeholder groups

SEED is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the inclusive green economy. SEED supports innovative small and growing, locally-driven eco-inclusive enterprises around the globe who integrate social and environmental benefits into their business model from the outset.