How to up-scale social-environmental entrepreneurship in South Africa?

This was the focus of an ILO dedicated interactive session at the SEED South Africa Symposium 2016.

News | 17 March 2016
This year’s SEED South Africa Symposium, held on 15-16 March 2016 in Pretoria, focused on the topic “Unlocking capital, boosting support - Building the ecosystem for eco-entrepreneurship in South Africa” gathering over 150 participants from international organizations, governmental agencies, research institutions, civil society and the private sector.

The ILO, as principal partner of this 5th Symposium in South Africa, participated in several panel discussions and organised a specific session on the second day of the event entitled "Towards Inclusive Green Economies: Up-scaling Social-Environmental Entrepreneurship Models in South Africa".

The session provided a platform for discussing the development of enabling policy environments which can support, incentivise and up-scale social-environmental enterprises in South Africa. It drew on innovative methodologies to promote social dialogue and seeked to create an improved understanding among donors, policy makers and other actors on key factors and gaps at the ecosystem level on social-environmental enterprises.

Best practices and projects, such as green entrepreneurship promotion through the ILO Youth Entrepreneurship Facility (YEF) programme in Kenya and Uganda, were showcased and the replication potential of those approaches were discussed.

Social entrepreneurship, which aims to provide products and services directly relate to basic human needs, is increasingly beginning to provide innovative solution to address related environmental challenges, such as water quality, transport, pollution, energy and food security and waste management.

These enterprises are not only drivers of innovation in green economy transitions, but are vital conduits to ensuring environmental sustainability and an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy, as envisioned in South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030.

The SEED South Africa Symposium is an annual international forum for sharing knowledge and experience, establishing partnerships, and developing solutions to stimulate the growth of social and eco-entrepreneurship in South Africa.

In 2010, South Africa was selected as first SEED pilot country. SEED South Africa aims also to create a national community of successful social and environmental entrepreneurs, providing increased business opportunities for the entrepreneurs themselves and for the wider business community.

SEED is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy established in 2002.