Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 March 2011





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REN wins entrepreneurship in sustainable devpt award

Sri Lanka's Rural Enterprise Network (REN) has won the Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development Award at the 2010 Supporting Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Developments (SEED) awards.

The SEED Awards recognise inspiring social and environmental entrepreneurs whose businesses can help meet sustainable development challenges. By helping entrepreneurs to scale-up their activities, the SEED initiative aims to boost local economies and tackle poverty, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.

REN, a social marketing organisation established by rural farmers primarily in the south of Sri Lanka aims at linking small-scale farmers to input-output markets.

By organising producers in a network of organic agro - and food processing enterprises, the farmers will benefit from improved product quality and joint marketing services.

Presenting the 2010 SEED Award and Certificate to REN, Acting Resident Representative and Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka Douglas Keh congratulated REN for its local contributions and global achievements.

"We are very pleased that one of the frontrunners in advancing the green economy is based here in Sri Lanka.", said Keh underscoring the importance of equitable access, partnerships with private sector and sustainable livelihoods. "Sri Lanka has the ability to produce a number of agricultural products that are in demand locally as well as internationally.

It is vital for many rural farmers to be capacitated and organised for producing such products.

He added that as a long-standing partner and contributor to Sri Lanka's development achievements over the last 50 years, through good and hard times, the UNDP has unique capacities to help the Government to meet these objectives.

Programme Manager of the SEED Initiative Constance Hybsier who represented SEED at the event said: "The start-up initiatives that qualify for the SEED Award demonstrate creative ways of tackling problems to provide social, environmental and economic benefits, based on an understanding and recognition of issues at local level.

SEED winners such as REN are setting examples of how small enterprises are contributing towards a greener economy and a more sustainable future".

This year, the SEED Awards have selected 30 innovative start-ups throughout the developing world, including initiatives from China, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and several African countries.

SEED Winners receive individually-tailored capacity building in areas such as business and financial planning, and partnership management; access to relevant expertise and technical assistance; and introduction to potential new partners and networks.

In addition, SEED makes a financial contribution towards implementing the support needs of each winner.

SEED was founded by UNDP, UNEP and IUCN at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Partners in the SEED Initiative in addition to the founding partners are the European Union, the governments of Germany, India, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.



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