Supporting TrAnsition from lineaR To CIRCuLar valuE chainS

The shift towards a circular economy (entailing a number of new demands from relevant directives) presents new challenges: Companies will need to increase the use of recycled materials, innovate and introduce new technologies to improve material recovery and recycling. There are, however strong regional differences in the capacity for innovation in the program area and SMEs, especially lack information, activities, strategies and innovation partners necessary to tackle them. The project area offers good conditions to address these issues together. The program area has internationally connected RTD institutions in materials (polymers, wood) with a clear (political) commitment to sustainability.

The project objective is to increase sustainable innovation and resource efficiency in the program area, especially for SMEs. START CIRCLES is designed to enable SMEs better access to information, activities, as well as innovation partners in order to strengthen and support their cooperation with RTD partners.

The main project outcome is to sustainably integrate SMEs in cross-border innovation networks and circular economy oriented value chains to increase innovation and develop new products / materials. START CIRCLES has been developed from the perspective and needs of SMEs and RTD organizations. The project will monitor SMEs from innovation initiation to the launch of the new products while delivering new and sustainable support services for each phase.

The following approaches in the project are new/innovative:

  • documentation and utilization of RTD skills for the circular economy
  • establishment of new cooperation models, especially regarding reuse-oriented value chains (training of mediators / facilitators)
  • supporting SME in RTD networks
  • support the launch new products by developing new business models
  • deliver a policy recommendation on a new theme: business models in the circular economy.

Priority axis 1

Investment Priority 1b
SO 2: Broadening the basis of innovating enterprises in the programme area

Project duration

1 September 2018 – 31 August 2021

Contracted ERDF

686.039,24 EUR

Project Partners

Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije (Lead Partner)

Wood Carinthian Competence Center

LIMNOS doo, Podjetje za aplikativno ekologijo

asteenergy – Ingenieurbüro für erneuerbare Energie, Forst- und Holzwirtschaft Christoph Aste Dipl.Ing, Msc.

Fakulteta za tehnologijo polimerov

Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

Forschung Burgenland GmbH