At this year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum in New York themed “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”, SEED, an initiative hosted by adelphi, had the opportunity to highlight the relevance of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in substantially contributing to sustainable development on an international level. The HLPF side event titled “Innovative and Eco-Inclusive Entrepreneurship, the SMEs in support to SDGs delivery” aimed to demonstrate the potential innovative SMEs, especially eco-inclusive enterprises, have in alleviating poverty, generating local income and jobs and using local resources more efficiently. SMEs also have the potential to identify realistic ways of unlocking opportunities through partnerships in response to local, community, regional and national social, environmental and economic challenges, as the event also highlighted. These SMEs also contribute to achieving the SDGs, for example through providing local jobs, especially to women (SDG 5), and improving food security (SDG 2).
During the presentations and discussions, both the importance of SMEs for economic and inclusive growth and the need for relevant investment became obvious, since these enterprises are usually not very “visible” and are so-called “hidden champions”. In this context, SEED is trying to make these companies visible to relevant stakeholders through its Awards system and follow-up support assistance.
A specific feature of this side event was the direct involvement of two previous SEED winners from South Africa and Colombia, who shared challenges, opportunities and solutions they have encountered with the event participants. In addition, 2017 SWITCH Africa Green-SEED Award Winners were announced, which attracted the attention of UN Radio, who broadcasted interviews in English and French.