The Regional Development Fund of Central Macedonia (RDFCM), on behalf of the Region of Central Macedonia, organized a virtual study visit on 26 November for the “SinCE-AFC” project, focusing in SME’s of the Region, which are active in the Agri-food sector and incorporate good practices of circular economy.
The project "SinCE-AFC" - Enchancing the Entrepreneurship of SMEs in Circular Economy of the Agri-Food Chain, is co-financed by the INTERREG EUROPE Program with a total of 9 partners from 7 different E.U. countries. ANATOLIKI SA is the Lead partner of the project.
All project partners, plus members of local support groups formed by each partner, representatives of the Region of Central Macedonia and representatives of the selected SMEs attended the study visit.
The study visit started with the Director of the RDFCM, Mr. Konstantinos Tertivanidis, who greeted and welcomed all the participants in this online action and outlined the opportunity offered for exchange of experiences and knowledge. Then, the Director of ANATOLIKI S.A., Lead Partner of the project, Mr. Iakovos Sarigiannis, also welcomed every participant.
The next section of the study visit started with Mrs. Lamprini Tsoli, representative of the RDFCM, who referred to the circular economy’s strategy of the Region of Central Macedonia. The issues of circular economy within the Region were presented, as well as the opportunities and challenges, the mechanism One Stop Liaison Office for the promotion of the circularity, actions and invitations that have been implemented to promote the circular economy through the ROP 2014-2020, but also the next steps in view of the new Programming Period 2021-2027.
Τhe virtual study visit that followed consisted of selected SMEs of the Region of Central Macedonia, that are active in the Agri-food sector and implement good circular economy practices at the phases of the production, processing, packaging, distribution and final consumption of the products they produce.
The first virtual visit was at "Staramaki", a Social Cooperative Enterprise based in Kilkis, which produces biodegradable straws from wheat stems. The presentation was made by Mr. Stefanos Kamperis, representative of the company.
The second virtual visit was about "Kafsimo", a Social Cooperative Enterprise also located in Kilkis that has proceeded to the exploitation and recycle of coffee waste in order to create pellets and briquettes. The presentation was made by Mrs. Mara Angelidou, representative of the company.
The third virtual visit took place at the company "Domaine Agrovision Winery", based in Ierissos, Halkidiki, which has started collaborations with local catering companies for the exploitation of wine lees (a by-product produced in the process wine) through its integration into the production of bread and pizza. The presentation was made by Mr. Angelos Zamanis, representative of the company.
After the presentation of the companies, a discussion among the participants followed. All these three examples of good circular economy practices which promote the production of quality products, minimizing the environmental footprint, creating new jobs as well as local business networks-clusters, where one business can take advantage of by-product of the other, were analyzed further.
The main conclusion that emerged from this study visit is that through the adoption of circularity actions by a company, conditions are created for the activation and awareness of the consumer public and a tendency for the selection of small and local businesses. In addition, the concept of social entrepreneurship is strengthened. Also, through the creation of new and innovative products, it is obvious that the economic benefits for companies are enhanced, while at the same time conditions are created for the return of part of the benefits to the society.