The main activity in the regional action plan for Östergötland is the implementation of a pilot project called Dynamic Environmentally Driven Business Development, financed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. The project runs from December 2018 to December 2019.
The pilot project was developed based on the learnings from the self-assessment in the SUPER-project. The self-assessment showed that the business support system in Östergötland lack support activities tailored in content for eco-innovation. The aim of the pilot project is for the participating SMEs to develop circular business models to increase their competitiveness. The main activities in the project are:
1. Four thematic seminars where the SMEs get inspiration and education based on selected themes related to sustainability, circular economy and environmentally driven innovation and product development. After each seminar the companies get a homework to work on until the next seminar. The theme of the seminars will be adapted to the needs and interests of the companies.
2. At the beginning of the following seminars, each company presents their homework and receives feedback from the other companies before moving on to the next seminar and theme, and a new homework.
3. Between the thematic seminars, ALMI coaches the companies in the work with circular business models and sustainable-driven product/service development.
As a result of the project we hope that tailored support for eco-innovative SMEs and SMEs who want to develop circular business models will be implemented in the regular services offered by the innovation support system.
One of the conclusions from the project so far is that the business advisers themselves don’t always have enough knowledge on circular business models to coach the SMEs. Hence, we have identified a need to educate the business support system in circular economy and circular business models.