Call for Applications: 2014 SEED Awards seek innovative projects on gender equality and women’s empowerment

Date: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 SEED Awards Applications Now Open

UN Women joins the European Union, the  International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the Government of Flanders, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the international law firm Hogan Lovells in supporting the SEED Awards 2014 - an initiative that aims to help the most promising start-up entrepreneurs, women-led enterprises and other social and environmental inspiring businesses to integrate ideas and proposals to address pressing local issues.

This year, SEED looks to award enterprises which have made significant contributions to mitigating and/or adapting to climate change as well as enterprises which prioritize gender equality and/or are women-led or owned.

To be eligible to apply for a 2014 SEED Award, enterprises need to:

  • Demonstrate entrepreneurship and innovation 
  • Deliver economic, social and environmental benefits 
  • Have the intention and potential to become financially sustainable 
  • Be a partnership between different stakeholder groups 
  • Be locally driven or locally led 
  • Have potential for scale up or significant replication 
  • Be in the early stages of implementation 
  • Be in a country with a developing or emerging economy. 
  • For the 2013 cycle, there are three SEED Gender Equality Awards available for enterprises in all countries that are not OECD or EU members. Two awards are supported by UN Women and one by UNIDO. To apply for the SEED Gender Equality Award, enterprises, in addition to the above eight criteria, also need to be:

  • run or owned by a woman or women and prioritise gender equality and/or women’s empowerment as a core objective
  • Each SEED Award Winner will receive a financial package of USD 5,000, a package of tailored support service which includes expert advice on developing and improving the enterprise’s business plans along with the participation in specially-designed workshops to enhance business skills. 

    The SEED Initiative is a global partnership for action on the Green Economy. It identifies and supports promising small-scale start-up social and environmental entrepreneurs around the globe, entrepreneurs that while working towards a greener economy also tackle poverty, marginalization and social exclusion. SEED provides these social entrepreneurs with know-how and networks, taking the lessons learned at local level up to decision-makers to promote evidence-based policymaking in the green economy.

    Winners of the 2013 SEED Awards  include a Ugandan a social enterprise that produces sanitary pads from natural agricultural waste materials with the objective of reducing absenteeism of schoolgirls in rural and poor communities while creating a women’s entrepreneur network through which the pads are distributed. In Namibia an awardee works to empower women entrepreneurs through a value-added fish and food processing facility that focuses on solar dried products that provide day-to-day food for rural and urban communities, proactively managing food security and reducing the economic gender gap. And a winner in Mozambique developed a mobile phone marketplace platform allowing informal and especially female cross-border traders to access price-related information, access an inventor, receive delivery status notifications and access credit on their mobile phones. Details about these and other SEED Winners are at:

    All enterprises which meet the eligibility criteria will be able to apply for up to 55 awards. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 8 April 2014, 11.59 p.m. Central European Time (CET). Please apply online or download the application form and e-mail it to the SEED Awards Team at . If you are unable to submit your application electronically, contact the SEED Initiative by email at or by phone at +49 30 89 00 068 99.