The SEED Awards recognize innovative social and environmental start-up enterprises whose businesses help to meet sustainable development challenges. By helping them to scale-up their activities SEED aims to boost local economies and tackle poverty, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.
One of the 2015 laureates is STM Solar Technologies Manufacturing (STM): STM is the first private Ethiopian company to offer solar home systems and solar lamps to rural households in the country. The company supplies rural households in Ethiopia with a variety of solar home systems and solar lamps. STM Solar Technologies Manufacturing sells their products in Ethiopian Birr to facilitate purchases, and also offer micro-finance credit for households that cannot afford to make a full payment for the products upfront. After acquiring a solar system, families are trained in how to use them and on the importance of using renewable energy. The enterprise also offers repair services when needed.
STM Solar Technologies Manufacturing is a joint venture established by a combination of local and foreign resources. Major shareholder of STM is SunTransfer GmbH. The German company offers guidance in financial, business and management matters. Sun Transfer Tech PLC is the enterprise’s local distribution partner. Additional shareholder is Stiftung Solarenergie – Solar Energy Foundation (Germany). The Foundation is working since 2004 to create a sustainable solar business in Ethiopia.
The 2015 SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa, with 25 Awards given to enterprises in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. A further 2 SEED Gender Equality Awards go to women-led enterprises that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as their core objectives.In addition to a financial contribution, every SEED Award Winner will receive technical assistance, free access to different supporting institutions, and tailor-made support to develop their business and skills. They will also join a network of more than 200 enterprises that have received the award so far.