4/3/2022 – 4/9/2023
Unemployment has always been a major challenge in the modern world becoming more intense in combination with the lack of entrepreneurship. In CBC area, unemployment rates in Greek citizens >24-years-old are in high levels after a 10-year crisis (~16% in 2019) and 2020 found its economy trying to rise under the risks of post-lignite era, while high unemployment is recorded in N. Macedonia (35% in 2019) (countryeconomy.com). Moreover, the innovation ecosystem in both countries requires better guidance and dedicated entrepreneurial support in new and dynamic economic sectors like Circular Economy (CE), Bio-Economy (BE), creative industry, etc.
A key principle of CE is keeping products in use via preserving value in the form of energy, labor & materials. According to recent estimates (European Environment Bureau), 1/3 of all material arriving at recycling centers could still be reused & 77% of EU citizens would rather have their products fixed than replaced by new.
At the same time, CE can be considered a primal opportunity for SMEs and a huge promise for new jobs and employment, as new skills are required and young scientists/engineers should be trained to meet the challenge.
To this direction, BECircular approaches CE & BE concepts to create job opportunities for young engineers/scientists/artists/technicians, further training and preparing them to function as entrepreneurs by exploiting higher-education skills and knowledge, thereby going along the EU, national and local strategy for waste prevention and promotion of CE.
BECircular capitalizes on technology acquired in previous projects where the intention was to explore the BE potential in the region and to register specific waste streams that could be upgraded by repair and reuse. It will upgrade past technology into CE & BE platforms connected with employment and sustainable business models. BECircular aims at seizing this opportunity by the establishment and operation of CE, BE & Entrepreneurship Centers in Florina & Prilep.
In this way, BECircular will try to give a ‘way out’ to the unemployment via supporting the creation of new job opportunities in the CBC area, stimulating young creativity, design and innovation of young generations in order to add value to items giving them a new life and implementing CE & BE in practice.
After the completion of the project the following main outputs are expected to be delivered:
The sustainability & durability of the main outputs of BECircular project rely on the great interest of the partners involved to implement actions in favour of local economy in the wider green sector. In this sense, they are committed to establish & continue the operation of the centers based on CE, BE & entrepreneurship even after the end of the project.
The integrity of BECircular partners & their connections to university institutions and social enterprises of the area can ensure the operation of the centers & the support of their personnel for at least 6 months after the end of the project. Through the organization of ‘Living Labs’ ecosystems among the centers & local/regional stakeholders from industrial and/or scientific sector will render procedures like business idea evaluation, realistic business plan development & financial resources finding more feasible.
The innovative tools applied during knowledge & skills transfer between the partners for the training of personnel suitable to support the centers activities can ensure the sustainability of the suggested ventures. The digital tools developed & exploited within the project will provide long-term access to more interested groups/individuals to be linked with the centers, thereby strengthening its sustainability & durability. The management of these tools will be executed by the trained personnel which will run the centers even after the end of the project under the umbrella of the above-mentioned partners expertise.
In addition, apart from the technical advantages risen from BECircular, the outputs are fully applicable & replicable by other organizations & regions outside of the current partnership, as they concern state-of-art activities in CE, BE & entrepreneurship, covering points affecting social & economic issues of both countries to a high extent.
The target group for the dissemination of the results from this project may be local communities, target groups (young people, unemployed, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, artists, technicians etc.), individuals & businesses involved (new and pre-existing).