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Financing and capacity building for micro and small Climate-smart Enterprises: Filling the gap of the missing middle

As of: October 2021

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make significant contributions to climate protection by developing and offering innovative services and products for greenhouse gas mitigation or to adapt to the consequences of climate change. The project combines the development of knowledge and resources for socially-inclusive and climate-friendly SMEs by supporting a favourable institutional framework. As part of the Corona Response Package, the SEED project supports inclusive and sustainable enterprises at different stages, from start-up to growth and scaling. Selected start-ups receive the “Low Carbon Award”, which, in addition to the prize money, also includes technical accompanying measures. . Innovative business ideas are disseminated and cooperations for a resilient, green and socially-integrative economy are launched via the high-profile award ceremony, web-based tools, virtual platforms and personal exchange formats.

State of implementation/results

  • To date, numerous winners have been awarded the "SEED Low Carbon Award" in public ceremonies, including participants from Ghana, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda. They implement business models that are predominantly focused on the distribution of climate-friendly applications for lighting and heating for local, rural households. The start-ups receive proven SEED training programmes (conducted in collaboration with local business development service providers) to improve and scale up their business models. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, project activities have been expanded to include a digital support programme to increase the resilience of SMEs in the relevant target countries.
  • In the light of the COVID-19 crisis, the so-called participatory "Train the Trainers" workshops were expanded to improve support programmes and instruments of local business development service providers. Virtual workshops addressed the critical resilience mechanisms for socially inclusive and climate-smart small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • To improve access to finance for socially-inclusive and climate-smart SMEs, Practitioner Labs Climate Finance were held in South Africa, Ghana, Indonesia and India in 2019 and 2020. The Labs promote the design, development and implementation of prototype financial products and instruments in the areas of climate adaptation and mitigation. Additional Labs are planned for 2021 in Uganda and Thailand.
  • SEED Climate Finance for SMEs Report (…) published how climate finance measures can harness the potential of climate-smart SMEs to implement climate mitigation and adaptation activities.
  • In 2019 and 2020, SEED held national policy dialogues in South Africa and Ghana. In 2021, the process will be conducted in India and Indonesia.
  • In collaboration with local actors and organisations, national SEED hubs are currently being established in Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Indonesia, India and Thailand. The national hubs are direct contacts for SMEs on the ground, provide local networks and coordinate the project activities in the respective country.
  • Furthermore, SEED published the report "Mapping Enterprise Resilience to COVID-19" (…) with six essential resilience factors as well as good practices that distinguish particularly resilient enterprises from the SEED programme. The report also shows how governments and other actors can support SMEs in this crisis.

Project data

Ghana, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda

Implementing organisation:
adelphi research gemeinnützige GmbH

Implementing partner(s):
  • Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP)
  • Nexii
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

BMU grant:
7.340.437,74 €

04/2013  till  12/2022


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