The Start Circular project is divided into 5 PHASES:
Phase 1: M1-2 – Preparation: Consolidation of working methods and operational plan.
Phase 2: M3 – M10 – Developing and implementing the integrated entrepreneurship management Model for circular economy.
Phase 3: M10 – M20 Staff training: Universities and SMEs in partnership to implement the Model ¼ M20 – 28 – Sustainable Growth Labs.
Phase 4: Implementation of the Sustainability Lab.
Phase 5: M28-M36 – Consolidation and sustainability: A platform for connecting Sustainable Growth Labs The Phases which build upon one another.
Phase 1 is essential for agreeing to the Operational Plan, Evaluation Plan and for consolidating working relationships and building trust. This includes a KOM and a training on the Evaluation Plan.
Phase 2 will be dedicated to the development of the Entrepreneurship Management Model for Circular Economy (Project Result – PR1). It will entail focus groups that are conducted across the partnership, in each partner country/region examining:
1) university teaching for entrepreneurship in circular economy,
2) experiences with existing innovation labs, incubators and similar structures and
3) employer expectations and perceptions.
In addition, a Study Visit will to UBI will be organised for the Partnership, where the concepts related to the Model will be studied in more depth and an example of an innovation Lab will be studied. An outreach meetings will be held with SMEs, in conjunction with the study visit, so as to broaden the pool of SME participation and feedback. To transform this information into a workable Model, a task force (RENCIS, ULPCG, Renteh and ELUM) will produce a scoping report that cross-assesses and analyses the results of the focus groups and the study visit and proposes a draft Model, which will be peer-reviewed and final endorsed by the PMG. Then, each partner university will assess which elements of the Model they are already have in place and which elements still need to be developed or articulated. Each partner university will then produce an ‘Implementation Plan’, where immediate and long-term actions will be outlined.
Phase 3 entails a comprehensive training package that targets university teaching and admin staff as well as middle management at SME (PR2). It is designed to equip university and SME staff with the tools needed to implement the Model’s various components: collaborative, transdisciplinary teaching, student services for entrepreneurship and Sustainability Labs. A Training Committee will design a programme comprised of 3 virtual and 1 physical workshops (blended approach). Selected staff from the university partners and SMEs will complete Learning Plans. A dynamic Training Portal will be launched, based in an advanced conference software, which will be a means to encourage communication and resource sharing.
In Phase 4, partners will implement one aspect of the Model: The Sustainability Lab (PR3). This will help them to support their graduates with practical business tools for sustainable economy. Over the course of one semester, selected students will be coached on building a business concept or project, which they will have the opportunity to present at a multiplier event, where they will interact with SMEs. At the end of the pilot semester, an assessment will be conducted of what the students have learned, the extent to which they have generated viable business plans, and the perspective for the Lab Platform. Finally, the project will also provide a platform through which the Sustainability Lab will be connected (PR4). This will be a means to share resources and allow students and SMEs in one country or regional to share ideas and even co-develop with those participating in a Lab in another region. This will internationalise the Labs and also provide a platform for continued collaboration and connectivity.