Circular Business Models – Summary from the Group Session

The third Virtual Greennovation Camp in the Interreg Nord-project GRUDE was held Tuesday Feb 9th, focusing on the utilization of side streams in rural Arctic areas. In one of the group sessions after lunch, where the overall theme was Circular Business Models, several interesting, current issues and cases were addressed by the participants. 

Louise Mattson, Älvsbyn Municipality (Sweden)used to work for the research institute RISE in Luleå but now works at Älvsbyn Municipality in an EU-funded project called Arctic DC. The project focuses on industrial symbiosis, using the waste heat (up to 40 %!) from data centers. Northern Sweden’s cold conditions are a perfect fit for data centers. In the project at RISE Louise was part of installing a bunker that draw the waste heat to driving up mealworms in the bunker. The mealworms themselves could be used in example for nutrition to chicken whilst their waste has proved to be a good fertilizer for tomatoes. It is possible to visit the container and have a look! It was hard to find entrepreneurs to take over now that the project funding is ending but Louise says she still have some ideas and she has also seen examples here in Norrbotten on startups working with similar ideas. She also gave us a tip that a data center in Boden is installing a greenhouse that will use the waste heat from the center. 

Wisdom Kanda, Linköping University (Sweden), presented his newly started 4-year FORMAS-project about Business Ecosystems and Start-ups developing Circular Business Models. The project is based on the idea that there is a knowledge gap between the new circular businesses and the business support systems that needs to be bridged. Wisdom got the question from a participant – “What does a company need to able to call itself circular?”, to which he responded that that is an important question and something he will keep in mind for the project. If you are a company with a circular business model or part of the business support system and eager to learn more – get in touch! 

Inger Pedersen, North Sweden Energy Agency/Sustainable Business Bridge (Sweden), carries out a variety of projects focused on sustainability. One new project in the portfolio is Sustainable Business Bridge where they will match companies with underutilized side streams with entrepreneurs who wants to make business out of it. Does your company struggle with becoming more resource efficient? Inger and her team help companies present their “problem” and find potential suppliers who can find solutions, or researchers that can help. Read more here.   

Maja Blomquist, SMICE/SNIUS and the Circular Business Model Canvas (Sweden), emphasized how important it is with the border crossing cooperation. In the recently finished SMICE-project they had Norway and Trøndelag as partners and Maja stated that it was absolutely important to speed up the process, see new trends and deepen the knowledge. She also stated that TRUST is an important factor when introducing something “new”. In SMICE they focused a lot on the innovation support system but also on changes at a policy- and regional level, in example working with the regional development strategy. One concrete result from the project is that they helped the Swedish Agency for Economical and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) to develop a Circular Business Model Canvas, a circular business modeling tool. Download the circular business model canvas for free here.   

It is evident that Circular Business Modeling is not the issue of one sector, all sectors that have the knowledge and experience must help to promote the shift and close the knowledge gap – no matter if you are an entrepreneur, business developer or researcher!

Blogpost by:
Amanda Mannervik, Strukturum (Se)
Grethe Lilleng, SINTEF (No)