Why incorporate the circular economy model into your business?
At Bridge, we’re believers in supporting a sustainable future, for both people and planet. And, if there’s something we’re sure of, it’s that the circular economy is a model worth exploring for every entrepreneur looking to develop a sustainable product or service.
But what is a circular economy? And what does it mean for us entrepreneurs looking to develop the products our planet – and those living on it – need?
The base of circular economy is about optimizing the use of resources and, ideally, generating 0 waste in the process.
Yes, that means game over to landfill. Economically speaking we can’t afford to be wasting potentially valuable resources. And, from an environmental point of view, as population and consumption grows, we cannot continue in the direction we’re headed.
The concept of circular economy has been around for a while, albeit under various names and forms. In fact, Accenture predicts that the circular economy model has the potential to create 4.5 trillion dollars in growth by the year 2030.
As an entrepreneur, the options when it comes to incorporating a ‘circular’ model into your product or service are incredibly broad but will require research into existing limitations and the possibility of pushing them.
Entrepreneurs who’ve already made the leap into circular economy
1.Tomas Horvath, Co-founder of Sobi.eco
Bridge entrepreneur and Co-founder of Sobi.eco Tomas Horvath has built his whole venture on the circular economy model.
Tomas says his project’s mission is linked to his vision to protect the earth and help vulnerable people. In fact, his brand sobi.eco has become known for it’s unique sustainable impact.
Not only are all of their products are made from recycled textiles and plastics in sheltered and special workshops, the startup also runs educational programs to share awareness about sustainable solutions.
Although Tomas says the journey has been a rollercoaster, the team have had some incredible triumphs so far.
Amongst other recognitions, in April 2018 Sobi.eco was ranked among the 40 best brands globally to be promoting sustainable branding at the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open and the pilot project became one of the winners of the OpenMaker international competition.
Tomas himself has also been invited to the United Nations headquarters in New York to present the idea of eco-friendly and social production with educational impact.
“The aim is to change people’s mindset”, says the young CEO. “So we, as a society, care more about our Planet and each other. This is the ultimate goal of the idea, the project, the whole brand.”
2. Aritz Gartzia Segurola, Co-Founder of Ekomodo
Our next example, Ekomodo, found it’s wings through our collaboration with Mondragon Team Academy in their entrepreneurship and innovation based LEINN program.
Ekomodo is on a powerful mission to help people and organizations create a better world, with products that are good for their customers, good for society and good for the planet.
The startup was created based on the problem that recycling companies traditionally sell the recycled material they obtain on, instead of reusing it.
Eko-REC, however, is the only industrial company in Europe which not only recycles plastic (around 5 million bottles recycled every day), but also transforms this recycled material into its own products which are used in different sectors, such as the automotive, food (packaging) or textile sector.
After several years of research and many R+D projects in the field of recycling and the Circular Economy, the Eko-REC innovation team identified the opportunity to further close the cycle of materials and waste.
Turning that recycled textile manufactured in Eko-REC into products that people could use in their day-to-day life and doing it betting on design and functionality, which take on a key role when talking sustainable products.
Back in 2018, one of the companies first decisions was to design and manufacture a series of stylish and sustainable products (at all levels), which would represent the message that, through small gestures, we can and must create a better world.
Since then, as well as being featured in a number of press publications, the team were named winner of the Circular Economy category at the European 2020 Environmental Awards and are just getting started.
The Bigger Picture of Sustainable Business
3. Kasha & Marla Slavner, Co-Founders of The Global Sunrise Project
Zooming out on the bigger picture of climate change, Bridge incubated startup The Global Sunrise Project is telling the stories of grassroots leaders who are overcoming adversity and making sustainable change in their communities, including those harnessing the power of circular economy.
As well as creating their own online shop under a circular model, the venture is leveraging the power of positive media through educational screenings to help young people use their unique skills and talents to contribute to causes they care about.
Kasha says the journey has been one of “growth and experiential learning”. She started the organization when she was only 15 years old with no filmmaking experience, and had to learn the basics of social entrepreneurship and the art of storytelling from the ground up:
“It’s been a challenge of not only hard-skills, but learning to believe in myself and helping others to do the same as well so we can channel our collective power as a generation to make positive, sustainable change.
It’s also been enriching to learn about grassroots solutions from people on the ground in communities around the world.
I’m inspired by their shared resilience, innovation, and determination as they seek solutions to issues like climate justice, gender inequality, non-violent peacebuilding, and accessible education for all.”
If you didn’t know, we’re on a mission to democratize access to entrepreneurship education. We support early-stage entrepreneurs in developing the businesses our society needs through our 3 month, online program, The Leap.
If, like these founders, you want to develop your project with us and join the purpose-driven movement, click here.
Or, if you’re already a member of the Bridge community and you’d like us to share your story, send an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org.