Entrepreneurial ecosystems for start-ups developing circular business models

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Current production and consumption systems are dominated by linear resource flows. A transformation to a circular economy which is restorative and regenerative by design will depend on the strategic actions of policymakers and businesses. The aim of this project is to develop knowledge on how to support start-ups developing circular business models.

The transformation to a circular economy requires a structural change of entire production-consumption systems and therefore spans multiple socio-technical systems for food, water, energy, manufacturing, transport, construction, and resource extraction. One approach for businesses to engage with circular economy is through sustainable entrepreneurship. ustainable entrepreneurship consolidates a new paradigm that environmental problems also represent opportunities for businesses to discover, create, and exploit new products and services which sustain the natural environment and contribute to socio-economic welfare. Sustainable entrepreneurship means turning environmental problems into business opportunities.

Start-ups are important candidates for developing circular business models due to their agility. However, developing circular business models can be challenging for start-ups due to the need for several domains of knowledge and competence, cooperation with different stakeholders, and collaboration across different sectors. Thus, start-ups may need external support to access essential resources such as knowledge, funding, and networks. Such external support is conceptualised as an entrepreneurial ecosystem and is an essential policy instrument for supporting start-ups in business development.

Aim of the project

The overall aim of this project is to develop scientific knowledge on how to support start-ups developing circular business models. Specifically, we aim to:

  1. Identify and characterize the challenges encountered by start-ups developing circular business models,
  2. Identify and characterize the existing competencies on circular business models among public and intermediary support actors, and
  3. Analyze the match and mismatch between the challenges of start-ups and the existing competencies among public and intermediary support actors regarding circular business models

General research design and methods

To develop fine grained and generalizable scientific knowledge on how to support start-ups developing circular business models, the project will focus on the Swedish context using qualitative research methods. The use of qualitative research methods such as interviews and focus group discussions are powerful in getting close to start-ups’ real need and providing the support actors with the conditions to better match their competencies to the needs of start-ups. 

The project will be realized based on the three work packages:

  1. Identity and characterize start-up challenges on circular business models,
  2. Identify and characterize existing competence on circular business models among support actors,
  3. Evaluate match and mismatch between start-up challenges and support competence.

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Circular Economy and Start-ups

Are you a start-up or business development organization thinking about circular business models? We want to collaborate with you! This project will develop knowledge on how to support start-ups developing circular business models. Do not hesitate to get in touch!

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