Embracing Sustainability with SEED

In the past years, we’ve seen a growing number of eco-sustainable businesses in the local startup scene. Not only do these businesses aim to develop a successful business but also find ways to minimize negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy. Here at BLOCK71 Jakarta, our goal has always been helping startups and providing them with a platform to learn, connect and grow. Recently we hosted SEED (https://seed.uno/), a global partnership initiative by UN Environment, UNDP and IUCN, to hold 3-day intensive workshop session targeting startup enthusiasts who want to apply eco-friendly approach to their product or service.

From defining value proposition to funding an eco-friendly business, here are some essential takeaways that you can take from this event!

To provide some background, SEED was founded at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg by UN Environment, UNDP and IUCN as a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy. It promotes the idea that social and environmental entrepreneurship is crucial for environmentally friendly and socially inclusive development and poverty reduction.

“I really enjoyed the program. The facilitators were very engaging and it was fun to get to know other local startups, while at the same time learning more about SEED BDS+ (Business Development Service+) and its’ Enterprise Toolkit,” said Fuad, one of the participants.

The SEED Enterprise Toolkit covers all the essential steps and key areas of business development support for eco inclusive small and medium enterprises. For instance, one of the Toolkit's chapters talks about the importance in defining your business value proposition. In order to do so, you can ask these questions: Is your product or service solving a problem? How does the solution overcome the problems it aims to solve? Does the solution bring an innovative approach into existing processes?

Taking into consideration these questions, now you can make your first draft by putting your value proposition in one simple sentence. Continue this step with “4C” approach, to make sure that your value proposition is crucial for customers, compelling, concrete and credible. During the workshop, our participants came up with a simple value proposition for an existing eco business: provide an affordable, tech advanced, non-harmful cooking solution. By defining a clear proposition, you become more aware of your business and set a clearer direction for your business to pursue. Simple, yet necessary step in the starting phase of your business.

The starting phase then continues to analyze the Target Market and determine your enterprise’s marketing priorities. For example, types of marketing properties can be: to increase sales by acquiring new customers or boost customer engagement. Since your different target market segments can have different preferences, priorities can change over time, and your business should not shy away from readjusting them, if necessary!

Another interesting session provided through this workshop is how to identify potential financiers for your business. First, analyze your options carefully between three main types of capital sources available: equity, debt and grants. Talk to VCs or international investor network to decide on equity financing, traditional banks for debt financing and do not forget that you also have the option of getting funding from government agencies through grant capital. Each comes with its own advantages and risks, so make sure to select accordingly.

In addition to the Enterprise Toolkit, SEED provides expertise through its Policy Advocacy and Financing programs. They can provide extensive insight from their vast networks of public, private and social stakeholders to advocate for policies to maximise your businesses capacities to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits. While SEED financing program provides grants that can help with scaling up your business activities.

Are you convinced to find out more about the program? To join the upcoming SEED workshop at your local city, do not forget to check their updates at https://seed.uno/ and BLOCK71 Jakarta’s media channels at Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.