We are building a Circular Economy Community within the Alpine and Danube area!

30. 06. 2022

We are building a Circular Economy Community within the Alpine and Danube area!

The initiators of the Circular4.0 project - Interreg Alp Region (whose leading partner is Technology Park Ljubljana) and GoDanuBio (Interreg Danaube) joined forces for the first time and organized a joint event with a co-creative workshop on the topic of promoting and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the fastest and most efficient transition to a circular economy with the help of digitization.

In the introductory part of the event, M.Sc. Marija Čebular Zajec from the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (MGRT), who is an observer of the Circular4.0 project, presented the key instruments for supporting SMEs in Slovenia for the transition to a circular economy.

M.Sc. Majda Potokar from Technology Park Ljubljana presented the key results of the Circular4.0 project, which focuses on supporting SMEs in the Alpine region to transform into a circular economy with the help of digitization. She pointed out that with the Circular4.0 project, by the end of 2021, the project partners have managed to connect approximately 1,400 stakeholders from various levels to the Circular4.0 community. At the same time there were roughly 260 cases of circular - digital transformation pilots in SMEs using the so-called Circularity Acceleration Training method, which is available free of charge to all interested SMEs on the website http://circular40.eu/.

This was followed by presentations of successful pilot examples in Slovenia, which were carried out as part of the Circular4.0 training for Slovenian SMEs. Presented pilot projects were the following companies: Beti d.d. (sustainable textiles), EVEgreen d.o.o. (nature-friendly ECO pots), Clara.One (sustainable laundry water) and Avitel d.o.o. (sustainable construction). The presentations of the pilots generated enthusiasm among the participants of the event and were an excellent opportunity for active discussions and constructive exchange of knowledge and new connections.

Dr. Peter Kumer from the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports highlighted the key results of the GoDanuBio project, which focuses on the circular (bio)economy and the promotion of the circular economy in rural areas in the Danube region.

This was followed by an overview of the current and future activities of the Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) in connection with the circular economy and digitization by Marko Hren from the Government Service for Development and European Cohesion Policy (SVRK). He also highlighted the new financing instrument, the so-called I3, for the period 2021-2027, within the framework of which 570 million euros will be allocated to support the commercialization and increase of the scope of interregional innovation projects in common priority areas of smart specialization.

During the co-creative workshop on the topic of how to accelerate and support the transition of SMEs in Slovenia to a circular economy with the help of digitization and in the search for potential synergies between the Alpine and Danube regions to accelerate this transition, it turned out that we have many advantages and opportunities in Slovenia to accelerate this transition also through the so-called government project Deep Demonstration and EIT Climate KIC, which is successfully orchestrating this transition in Slovenia.

Further, the Circular4.0 and GoDanuBio projects will continue to contribute to this transition with their activities. The Circular4.0 project will contribute to this mainly through the action plan for the green transition for the Alpine region and through the establishment of the Circular4.0 community, which will actively connect the stakeholders in the community even after the project is completed.