Introducing the new „Circular Economy Catalyst”

adelphi and the IKEA Foundation, in collaboration with SEED, are working together to unlock the potential of circular economy entrepreneurship to design sustainable businesses and partnerships that foster inclusive and regenerative economies in India and Kenya.


Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are an important part of the private sector in both India and Kenya, providing employment to approximately 7.5 million people in Kenya and over 110 million people in India. Many enterprises, however, experience financial, skills and market challenges to starting and growing sustainable businesses. This limits their ability to generate income, create jobs for women and young people, and address environmental issues in their community.

“Through our work in the field of Green Entrepreneurship, we have seen exciting businesses in the circular economy that address environmental issues and provide decent jobs in their community, yet many face challenges to grow their business and impacts. By combining capacity building support with financial support along their growth journeys, we can unlock their potential to deliver impact at scale” says Camilla Shearman, manager at adelphi and project lead.

More than 220 entrepreneurs in India and Kenya receive support

Supporting entrepreneurs to build and grow profitable businesses in the circular economy can catalyse the transition to green, circular and inclusive economies. The Circular Economy Catalyst will work with partners — such as business advisors and financers — to support over 220 entrepreneurs in the circular economy in India and Kenya to create profitable circular economy business models that generate income, positive environmental impacts and more than 8,700 jobs.

According to the IKEA Foundation, adelphi's Circular Economy Catalyst is supported because the Foundation believes it will help entrepreneurs transform their ideas into businesses that provide a decent income for people in their communities while protecting the planet. Through its grantmaking, the foundation works with partners to help people and communities with the fewest resources to build sustainable livelihoods and support their families.

Many years of experience

The project will build on the success of adelphi and the SEED project, which has seen 88% of enterprises receiving comprehensive support between 2005-2018 remain in business, generating an average of over 28 direct jobs, 80 distribution jobs and 130 jobs within their suppliers. In 2013, adelphi took over the project sponsorship for SEED and is responsible for the overall coordination of the project as well as for the implementation of SEED's activities.

To learn more about the Circular Economy Catalyst and other SEED projects, please visit the SEED website.

Contact: Camilla Shearman