Sidley’s Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program and the Trade for Development Initiative recently formed a partnership with OceanHub Africa to support innovative ocean-impact-driven startups. Through this partnership, Sidley and OceanHub Africa will collaborate to advise and guide businesses that are focused on mitigating overuse of the oceans, combating pollution, and addressing the effects of global warming.
“From licensing to investment negotiations, the startups of our portfolio have legal needs that are critical not only for the success of their business, but also to grow their positive impact on ocean ecosystems and communities,” said Herland Cerveaux, Chief Operations Officer of OceanHub Africa, which was founded in 2019. “Our partnership with Sidley helps startups benefit from legal support and helps our organization to raise awareness on the best legal practices that can allow countries across Africa to unlock the opportunities of the Blue Economy, a sector whose economic, social, and environmental impact is still not fully understood.”
For Ada Siqueira, Director of Sidley’s Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program, the partnership presents an exciting opportunity to expand the Emerging Enterprises Program’s areas of focus to include more businesses involved in the Blue Economy. “Our pro bono programs focus on helping impact-oriented, sustainable businesses and initiatives in developing countries to expand and prosper, and OceanHub Africa is one such amazing enterprise,” said Ada Siqueira. “By supporting their activities, as well as their incredible impact-driven startups, we hope we can contribute to the transition to a fairer and greener economy.”
In July 2022, OceanHub Africa held its Stakeholder Workshops in celebration of African Day of Oceans and Seas, a build-up event to the annual Ocean Innovation Africa Summit, which convenes key local stakeholders to collaborate on solutions for ocean preservation. Sidley’s Colette van der Ven, Director of the Trade for Development Initiative, chaired a workshop on the topic of the circular economy, waste management, and marine plastics. The key action points identified at the workshop will be presented at the next Ocean Innovation Africa Summit in February 2023.
Sidley’s Trade for Development Initiative provides pro bono legal and technical advice to least-developed countries, lower-middle income countries, trade associations, and NGOs in the context of trade, sustainable development, and investment policy.
Sidley’s Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022, provides free legal support to eligible small- and medium-size, for-profit enterprises and nonprofits that have a clear social and/or environmental impact in developing countries.