Developed in 2002, the SEED Initiative takes to heart those very words. The SEED Initiative is a global partnership that is calling for action on sustainable development and increasing our “green” economy by supporting local entrepreneurs on a global scale. Encouraging small businesses in villages and cities around the world plants the seed of prosperity in local communities and furthermore, promotes the sustainable management of natural resources. When a business realizes the direct effect they have on their environment, they are more likely to be better stewards of their resources.
The SEED Initiative actively encourages entrepreneurs and dreamers alike to submit their ideas for review by an international jury of experts. Once chosen, the winners receive an individually-tailored support package including a chance to network with interested organizations, an international profile on their initiative, skills development training and business planning sessions. On a larger scale, the winner’s progress is tracked to increase the understanding of growth and challenges that small businesses can face. Hopefully, the knowledge gained will translate into policy messaging that can benefit social and environmental entrepreneurs worldwide.
Recently 30 SEED award winners were announced and it’s no surprise that in a competition valuing sustainability that a bamboo-led initiative made the list!
The Ghana Bamboo Bikes initiative is a youth-led, non-profit enterprise committed to the economic empowerment of youth by taking advantage of the abundant raw materials in Ghana to manufacture and assemble high-quality bamboo bikes that are both suitable to the less-than-stellar road conditions and terrain in Ghana and are affordable to the citizens there who mostly live in poverty. Similar to the Bamboo Bike Project, this initiative is increasing the quality of life and livelihood for the people of Ghana by making travel more accessible and providing jobs in the manufacturing and distribution of the bamboo bikes. And because the bamboo is so plentiful in their region, the overhead costs are low enough to make this a sustainable business on many levels.
Other notable winners include:
Manufacture and Popularization of Biomass Briquettes – Aiming to replace wood and charcoal with biomass briquettes from fallen leaves and other sources of unused biomass, this progressive enterprise of local and international NGOs and a research institution helps to combat desertification, create jobs in rural communities and raise awareness for alternative energy sources. It would be worthwhile to investigate the use of bamboo charcoal for this project as well!
EcoPost – Fencing Posts from Recycled Post-Consumer Waste Plastic – International and national NGOs have launched this unique initiative to recycle waste plastic into aesthetic, durable and environmentally-friendly fencing posts and consequently reduce plastic litter on streets and open fields. By providing an alternative fencing material to traditional wood, EcoPost contributes towards the conservation of forests.
“Backpack Farm Agriculture Program” – This initiative enables food autonomy for rural communities by providing small landholders with a dynamic set of agricultural tools, comprehensive training and monitoring – delivered and distributed in a canvas backpack.
With the proper support and a worldwide trend towards sustainability on their side, the SEED Winners stand a strong chance of flourishing. Changing lives locally and influencing people globally, the winners are truly the groups that are changing the world.
For more on Bamboo’s role in development worldwide, visit Green Earth News section on Bamboo’s Worldwide Impact.