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Three Entrepreneurs in Botswana, Zambia, and Malawi Beat over 1,000 Applicants to Win Prestigious SEED Award

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startup - Investors King

A Botswanan company which trains farmers to use bees to stop elephants destroying their farms, a Zambian business which promotes sustainable bee-farming, and a Malawian start-up which turns leftovers into cooking gas have won the SEED Awards for Climate Adaptation (SEED Awards). SEED was founded as part of a global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In Botswana, local entrepreneur Mavis Nduchwa founded Kalahari Honey to restore the balance between humans, wildlife, and the environment. The company gives farmers beehives and trains them to create a live fence of bees around their farms to deter local elephant populations. Not only does this reduce conflict between humans and wildlife, it gives farmers an added income as they can sell their bee products back to Kalahari Honey, which markets to customers globally. It also increases pollination through the propagation of bee colonies and the introduction of more indigenous, drought-resistant plant species reverses the ongoing desertification. The company currently works with 500 rural farmers, but under SEED’s expert provision it aims to work with an additional 1,500 farmers over the next year and expand the capacity of its processing factory.

In Zambia, entrepreneur Harry Malichi set up Wuchi Wami to train farmers in sustainable beekeeping. The company packages, brands, markets and distributes local raw and organic honey from its registered cooperative made up of 2,500 farmers. It uses modern beehives made from easy-to-plant pine, rather than the local miombo trees, which are destroyed in traditional beehive production. This type of beekeeping is less labour-intensive, enabling women, youths and orphans to farm honey. Deforestation is further reduced by providing an alternative income source for women and men engaged in charcoal burning. Under SEED’s guidance, the enterprise plans to increase the number of smallholder farmers in its cooperative to 10,000 in the coming year.

EcoGen, founded by Clement Kandodo in Malawi in 2019, provides advanced biowaste bins and biodigesters for households to recycle their leftover food and agricultural waste, turning it into biogas for cooking and organic fertiliser. The provision of renewable cooking gas, especially to rural customers relying on wood fuel, takes the pressure off local forest resources. Organic fertiliser increases yields and incomes of smallholder farmers, enhancing their climate resilience. SEED will help EcoGen scale its services to provide 4,000 households and institutions with access to renewable biogas energy by 2023.

Yves Wantens, General Representative of the Government of Flanders in the United States commented: “When it comes to the impacts of climate change, countries like Malawi, Zambia and Botswana are on the front line. They are the ones who will feel the effects of a rise in global temperature most acutely. That is why we are so proud to support the SEED Awards, which recognise and scale the impact of eco-inclusive enterprises across these local communities. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, MSMEs are at the forefront of enabling green recovery and delivering on SDGs, for the good of the wider community and the planet.” The Government of Flanders is the primary sponsor of the SEED Climate Adaptation Awards.

The SEED Awards ceremony, taking place today at the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will also see SEED present its ‘Green Recovery Snapshot’ findings, which calls on governments, donors, and financial providers to increase targeted support for MSMEs as they stimulate economic growth in a post-COVID world. MSMEs are responsible for creating seven out of ten jobs across emerging markets, and green and social MSMEs deliver environmental and social impact through their activities, products, and services, making them essential actors in achieving a green recovery.

Winners of the SEED Awards will be awarded matching grants of between EUR 10,000 – 15,000 and will receive tailored one-to-one advisory services for up to a year to scale their operations, as part of the renowned SEED Accelerator programme. In line with the principle of ‘awarding the best and moving the rest’, 39 runners-up will also be supported through the SEED Catalyser programme, to refine their business models and optimise their impacts while advancing their investment readiness.

SEED’s Director of Operations, Rainer Agster, added: The calibre of SEED Award entries this year was outstanding, and we extend our congratulations to all nine winners and 39 runners-up. We hope the enterprises identified and promoted by the SEED Awards will be a source of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs across emerging economies. Through the SEED Awards, we will support 48 enterprises in 2021, and through our other programmes, several hundreds more. For each of those, however, there are thousands more eco-inclusive enterprises furthering SDGs which can be amplified with the right support. Therefore, we strongly encourage policy makers and financial actors to take a closer look at these eco-inclusive businesses and start or scale support programmes for them.”

Of the 2021 SEED Awards cohort, 69 per cent of enterprise leaders are 18-35 years-old and 52 per cent are female-led enterprises. Since their inception in 2005, the SEED Awards have awarded 311 enterprises in 40 countries and have facilitated the disbursement of over EUR 1 million in grants. Each individual SEED enterprise has saved an average of 7,300 tonnes of CO2, generated more than 9,399 kWh of renewable energy, and created 28.4 jobs, out of which 32 per cent are offered to people at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP).

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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BUA Cement Announces 24.6 Percent Increase in Profit to N43.4 Billion in H1 2021

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BUA Cement Plc, Nigeria’s second-largest cement manufacturing company, on Thursday reported a 22.7 percent increase in revenue in the six months ended June 30, 2021.

Revenue rose from N101.261 billion recorded in the first half (H1) of 2020 to N124.278 billion in the first half of 2021.

The company disclosed in its unaudited financial statements release through the Nigerian Exchange Limited and seen by Investors King.

As expected, the cost of sales inched higher by 19.1 percent from N55.539 billion in H1 2020 to N66.158 billion in H1 2021. While gross profit expanded by 27.1 percent to N58.120 billion in H1, up from N45.723 billion.

The cement manufacturing company grew other income by 52.3 percent from N47.653 billion filed in H1 2020 to N72.6 billion in H1 2021.

Administrative expenses rose to N4.17 billion in the period under review, representing an increase of 57.9 percent when compared to N2.643 billion recorded in H1 2020.

Operating profit increased by 23.8 percent from N40.809 billion in the corresponding period of 2020 to N50.524 billion in the period under review.

Profit before income taxes rose by 26.9 percent to N49.700 billion in H1 2021 from N39.165 billion in H1 2020.

The company paid N6.3 billion in income tax in the first half of 2021.

Therefore, profit after tax stood at N43.396 billion in the first six months of 2021, an increase of 24.6 percent when compared to N34.819 billion achieved in the same period of 2020.

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Seplat Energy Appoints Dr. Emma FitzGerald as an Independent Non-Executive Director

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Seplat Energy Plc has appointed Dr. Emma FitzGerald as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company, the company disclosed on Thursday.

Dr. FitzGerald will replace Lord Mark Malloch-Brown who retired from the Board of the Company on 1st August 2021.

Dr. Emma FitzGerald Profile

Dr. FitzGerald is a seasoned executive in Energy & Water, with hands-on experience in transformation through her many years of working at Shell, ranging from building its lubricants business in China to running its Global Retail network.

From 2007-2010, she was accountable for Shell’s Downstream strategy and played a key role in reshaping Shell’s renewables strategy including the creation of Raizen, a game changing biofuels JV with Cosan. From 2013 to 2018 she ran gas distribution and water & waste networks for National Grid and Severn Trent where she successfully
positioned them as sustainability thought leaders in their Industries.

Most recently Dr. FitzGerald served as CEO of Puma Energy International, a global energy company owned by Trafigura and Sonangol, which is focused on high potential developing markets in Africa, Asia and Central America. In 2020 she set up Puma’s Future Energies division to play a critical role in helping customers and communities find the right energy solutions to support the energy transition. Over the last 10 years she has served on various Boards in executive and non-executive capacities and currently sits on the board of UPM Kymmene, an international paper & biomaterials business focused on innovating for a future beyond fossil fuels.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr. A. B. C. Orjiako, Chairman of SEPLAT Energy said: “The Board of SEPLAT Energy is indeed delighted to have Dr. Emma Fitzgerald on board as she brings vast knowledge in important areas such as the energy sector, renewables and sustainability. SEPLAT Energy has a great future ahead and looks forward to the enormous contribution she will make towards its continuing global success.”

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Robinhood IPO Priced at Lower End of Range, Firm Valued at $32B

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Stock and crypto-trading app Robinhood has secured a $32 billion valuation via its initial public offering (IPO) and is set to debut on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday.

According to a press release on Wednesday, Robinhood has priced its offering at $38 per Class A common stock share.

The pricing is at the lower end of the $38-$42 per share price range the company had targeted and had planned on selling 5.5 million shares targeting a $1.89 billion raise.

Net proceeds from the sale will go toward working capital, capital expenditures, funding tax obligations, hiring efforts, customer support services, among others.

Shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Thursday, according to the release.

Earlier this month, Robinhood began unconventionally offering a portion of its IPO to users via its app — a view some consider to be a risky gamble.

Known for its zero-fee trading structure, the company has continued to endure hits to its image as well as legal and political ramifications stemming from the fallout of the GameStop saga and limitations to users trading crypto.

The company is trying to reshape that image and is reportedly working on a new feature that will help protect users from crypto price volatility while hiring a former Google alumn to improve its overall product design.

“Robinhood intends to use the net proceeds for working capital, capital expenditures, funding its anticipated tax obligations related to the settlement of RSUs, and general corporate purposes including increasing its hiring efforts to expand its employee base, expanding its customer support operations and satisfying its general capital needs,” the firm said in the announcement.

Robinhood filed the public offering prospectus on July 1, noting at the time that 17 percent of its total revenue in Q1 came from crypto trading transaction fees, which represented a big jump from the 4 percent in Q4 2020.

“While we currently support a portfolio of seven cryptocurrencies for trading, for the three months ended March 31, 2021, 34 percent of our cryptocurrency transaction-based revenue was attributable to transactions in Dogecoin, as compared to 4 percent for the three months ended December 31, 2020,” the firm said in the initial filing.

Still, the company’s CEO Vlad Tenev is staring down allegations from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority over his failure to register Robinhood Financial relating to compliance issues.

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