How can development cooperation have a sustainable impact?

How can development cooperation have a sustainable impact?

With Agenda 2030, the global community intends to make environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable development possible around the world. Together with national governments, civil society, and the private sector, social enterprises are making a critical contribution to these efforts by devising solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, implementing them at local level over the long term with a viable business model. We work with social enterprises in developing and emerging countries to reduce existential deficits while creating structures that facilitate sustainable business and open up economic prospects. Technologies with societal impact that are adapted to local conditions have a particularly important role to play in this. 

Hardly any of the Sustainable Development Goals can be met without technology. We are strengthening solutions that have a marked entrepreneurial and local element and that are exerting an impact on society.
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Through our projects and networks, we are supporting social enterprises in the technology sector and gearing them up for their next stage of growth.
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They know what really counts: Social entrepreneurs are developing user-oriented products and services while also creating urgently needed jobs.
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Our empowering people. Network brings together social enterprises from all over the world that are improving basic services in developing regions.
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Besides individual promotion, our main priorities are getting all stakeholders to learn from one another and think as one.
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Scaling up impact: Our awards recognize highly promising technologies for developing regions and make them accessible to an international community.
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From drones and supplying medicines through to transportation: Through partnerships, we are strengthening startups in Africa that are taking major steps toward a greener future with the help of e-mobility.
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Our own social enterprise WeTu is providing affordable, environmentally friendly water, energy, and mobility solutions along the shores of Lake Victoria.
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The Safe Water Enterprises are supplying East African communities with clean drinking water and creating jobs and training opportunities at the same time.
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As part of the TeamUp initiative, we are developing a holistic approach that will give young people in East Africa job opportunities and prospects for the future.
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Essential services: promoting access to vital products

Together with social enterprises, we are helping to bring about a lasting improvement in essential services, particularly: water, sanitation, clean energy, mobility, food, and health. Securing access to these vital products and services improves people’s quality of life and gives them new opportunities to improve their livelihoods. 

Climate and environment: promoting sustainable economic activity 

Climate change and the destruction of the environment call for rapid, concerted action. People in the Global South are being hit especially hard by the impact of climate change. Together with our partners, we are supporting the development of environmentally friendly, technology-based solutions and socially responsible business models that use resources sustainably to create renewable systems. 

Economic perspectives: promoting jobs with a future and fair working conditions  

Strong social enterprises allow people to grow their individual skills and acquire new ones, while also creating urgently needed jobs. This is why we support particularly high-growth social enterprises that offer fair working conditions and opportunities for development. 

Our operational portfolio includes hands-on water-, clean energy-, and e-mobility-based projects with a social entrepreneurial focus, as well as numerous initiatives supporting social entrepreneurs in emerging economies. From mentoring and networking to knowledge transfer and access to finance, we either implement our own projects together with partners while also supporting selected social enterprises in developing and emerging countries. 

Our efforts contribute to the United Nations‘ global Sustainable Development Goals. Together with more than 50 partners from the development cooperation ecosystem, including international NGOs, social enterprises, and public- and private-sector development cooperation stakeholders, we are also involved in initiatives that pool expertise and promote knowledge transfer amongst the various organizations. 

Press releases and news 

Press release | Social Entrepreneurship |

“2nd SESA Call for Entrepreneurs 2023” is open

Press release | Social Entrepreneurship |

Call for R&D in E-Mobility: Testing and piloting sustainable transport in Ghana and Uganda

Background reports

Interview | Social Entrepreneurship |

Sustainability as a Growth Engine

Background story | Social Entrepreneurship |

Toward green economy with climate and gender equality: Three Kenyan social enterprises pave the way

Topic pages


Social Entreprises as Job Creators in Africa

A three-part study by Siemens Stiftung and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation, estimates that one million new jobs could be created by social enterprises by 2030 in the twelve countries investigated alone, and sets out recommendations to leverage this potential. 

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E-Mobility Solutions for Rural Sub-Saharan-Africa​

Rural sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to drive e-mobility implementation across the continent. Our Reader provides an insight into some of the technologies and business models currently available and supplies reliable data on the region. 

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Project portals 

empowering people. Network

Our empowering people. Network brings together social enterprises that use smart technologies to improve basic services in developing regions and create economic prospects. The website showcases the innovative solutions and the organizations behind them, while sharing key lessons learned. 

empowering people. Network


WeTu is a social enterprise set up by Siemens Stiftung that works on innovative solutions to supply energy and drinking water in East Africa. It is also deploying the first-ever electric vehicles developed for rural Africa.  

Website of WeTu


In collaboration with the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (German Foundation for World Population), and Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, the TeamUp program creates new opportunities for young people in rural regions of East Africa.

Program website

Head of Social Entrepreneurship
Christine Janezic
Deputy Head of Social Entrepreneurship
Marah Köberle