DECIDE – Digital Services for Circular Economy – a Toolbox for Regional Developers & SME

Funded by: Interreg Danube

Project duration: 1.4.2024

The future holds many challenges and the EU responds with respective programs and objectives, like Agenda 30‘s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Fit for 55 – the EU’s plan for a green transition and especially the Circular Economy Action Plan (part of European Green Deal). The latter sets clear objectives which also contribute to the goal of the other programs: Make sustainable products the norm in the EU; focus on the sectors that use most resources and where the potential for circularity is high, including batteries and vehicles, packaging, textiles, plastics, ICT, construction and buildings, food, water and nutrients; ensure less waste; make circularity work for people, regions and cities.

With regard to the EU response, it is clear that Circular Economy Business Models (CEBM) are given a special role in addressing current and future challenges at a transnational level and that they are significant for achieving the set objectives. However, the development and implementation of CEBM meets common obstacles in the DR such as local regulations contrary to the circular concept, lack of infrastructure for waste treatment, lack of recycling technology and especially a lack of adequately planned business models.

This is where the project aims to intervene by providing methods and tools to SMEs, Startups, Economic Developers for the development of successful CEBM by modelling existing best practice CEBM (in batteries, food, textile, packaging, smart city), in-depth simulations on ecological and social dimensions and continuous monitoring of the CEBM’s success – protected by blockchain technology. Accordingly, the implementation of practical pilots and targeted qualification measures will ensure a thorough understanding of CE value chains and allow for knowledge transfer from the existing best practice CEBM across borders and sectors within the DR, turning the supposed weakness of geographical segmentation into a new and unique innovation accelerator.

SYMBIO –  Shaping symbiosis in bio-based industrial ecosystems based on circular by-design supply chains

Funded by: European Research Executive Agency

Project duration: 1.1.2024 – 31.12.2026

 The SYMBIO project provides European regional communities with tools and methodological approaches to building bio-based business models based on circularity by-design and industrial symbiosis

Thanks to tools for integrating big data and artificial intelligence, SYMBIO shapes 10 symbiotic business models with high-profitability and sustainability, replicable at the EU level to increase bio-based products on the market and provides a system to modelling, measure and monitor symbiosis and its social, economic and environmental impacts. SYMBIO methodology will be designed, tested and validated in 12 EU pilot regions (Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Emilia-Romagna, Carinthia, Slovenia, Croazia, Andalusia, Bruxelles Capital, Wallonia, Flanders) that have been selected based on the estimation of their bio-based resources defined by raw material availability, socio-economic indicators, intangible networks and infrastructures and potential for development of CBE close-to-market supply chains and current trends. Involving all supply chain actors in a quadruplex approach will help unlock and stimulate local development potential by promoting sustainable, innovative, tangible and participatory pathways to the green transition through an inclusive bottom-up CBE nexus. 

The concept is based on the synergistic use of local biomass by creating Regional Data Hubs, which will support the design of zero-waste value chains through big data solutions and artificial intelligence (VCG.AI platform). To maximise the use of local resources, Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) will identify the most promising symbiotic business models replicable in other EU regions beyond the 12 pilot regions. Sustainability performance will be shown through a reporting system, a decision support solution for all operators in the supply chain who can count on a system for measuring the competitive advantage of the symbiosis industrial model and consider it a monitoring tool. Finally, bio-based industrial facilities’ social, environmental and economic benefits will be measured, integrated into the VCG.AI platform and disseminated through communication actions and stakeholder engagement. 

Enhancing Brewery Operations with New Digital Tools: The HIGHFIVE Project

Funded by: HIGHFIVE Innovation Project, that has received funding under the European Union’s I3 programme under grant agreement 101083989.

Project duration: December 2023 – November 2024

Anteja ECG is working on a new project titled ‘Digitalizing Value Chains in the Brewery Industry for the Twin Transition.’ This project focuses on improving our main platform, the Value Chain Generator (VCG.AI®), by using artificial intelligence and big data to help create better business connections. Our aim is to adapt this platform specifically for breweries, testing and applying it in real-life situations on a large scale. We plan to add more data sources, improve our AI models for handling bigger datasets, develop a module for simulating business scenarios, and thoroughly test everything in real working conditions to help breweries work more efficiently and sustainably. To facilitate decision-making process and implementation, business case simulation module will evaluate also economic impact of building new value chains and act as a sales accelerator/tool.

The HIGHFIVE project is set to tackle specific problems faced by the brewing industry, especially the low rates of recycling and reuse in the EU. We’re focusing on BioLink models for breweries to help them find new ways to connect with other sectors, create more business value, and speed up the shift towards greener practices by finding better uses for waste materials. By incorporating VCG.AI in their operations, breweries could significantly cut down on waste and greenhouse gas emissions, while also seeing economic advantages. This project is not just about improving how breweries operate, but also about helping Anteja ECG grow and expand its market reach.

Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains in Uzbekistan

Funded by:

Project duration: October 2023 – June 2024

The “Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains” project in Uzbekistan is a significant initiative aimed at transforming the cotton sector in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is one of the world’s largest cotton producers, with cotton playing a crucial role in the nation’s economic and social fabric. Historically, the cotton sector in Uzbekistan faced numerous challenges, including forced and child labor, environmental damage, and inefficient practices, which tarnished the country’s global reputation. The government’s ambitious reform plan since 2016, aiming to increase value-added from cotton production and enhance the industry’s export potential, sets the stage for this project.

The project focuses on promoting sustainable cultivation methods, ensuring decent work standards, and fostering environmental responsibility across the entire cotton supply chain. It includes initiatives such as training in sustainable cotton production techniques, improving working conditions and environmental management in local textile clusters, and integrating the cotton and textile sector into international trade. This comprehensive approach seeks to elevate the cotton and textile industry’s international competitiveness while adhering to high social and environmental standards. This transformation is vital for Uzbekistan’s economic growth, providing a unique opportunity to establish a more sustainable, equitable, and profitable agricultural sector.

Ventures Thrive Programme

Funded by: The Ventures Thrive Action 

Duration: May – November 2023

Anteja has been awarded a Ventures Thrive programme for the VCG.AI solution – Transforming waste into resources with big data analytics and AI.

Ventures Thrive is a pioneering initiative aimed at accelerating the development of deeptech startups across Europe. Sponsored by the European Innovation Council, Ventures Thrive offers a comprehensive support package, including a €1.5 million grant distributed over two years. This support is crucial for up to 32 selected startups, including Anteja, focusing on tackling some of the most pressing global challenges. The project’s primary goal is to minimize market entry hurdles for deeptech companies, providing a blend of equity-free funding, access to specialized investors, and real connections with corporate partners to promote open innovation.

The Ventures Thrive program spans an 8-month period, featuring two distinct phases: Build and Growth. During the Build phase, Anteja will refine its business case with expert coaching, focusing on product development, commercialization, and forming strategic corporate partnerships. This phase concludes with a pitching opportunity to industry leaders. In the subsequent Growth phase, Anteja will receive tailored mentoring, participate in innovation strategy workshops and masterclasses, and engage in investment readiness programs. This phase is designed to solidify Anteja’s business case for addressing real-life corporate challenges, culminating in a Demo Day at Wolves Summit, with potential additional prizes for outstanding achievements.

Project’s website

Support for Economic Reforms and Sustainable Economic Development in Regions of Uzbekistan

Funded by: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH 

Project duration: October 2023 – November 2025

The project, “Support for Economic Reforms and Sustainable Economic Development in Regions of Uzbekistan,” represents a significant initiative aiming to bolster the implementation of economic reforms and foster local economic development in various regions of Uzbekistan. With a special focus on Tashkent, Karakalpakstan, Andijan, Namangan, and Ferghana, the project extends its influence to other regions like Khorezm, Kashkadarya, Sirdarya, Samarkand, and Jizzakh. Its main objectives include creating job opportunities in selected value chains through modern, innovative approaches, enhancing business development services, strengthening the capacities of local institutions in local economic development, and initiating Public-Private Dialogues to fortify cooperation between public and private sectors.

The project will not only contribute to the economic advancement of the regions but also involve the community and private sector in the development process. The Academy of Public Administration under the President of Uzbekistan plays a crucial role in this initiative, highlighting the project’s commitment to capacity building and sustainable development.

Biochar as a carbon sink and technology for circular bioeconomy

By: Maja Berden Zrimec Biochar, a solid carbon-rich material obtained from the pyrolysis of organic waste, is emerging as a valuable tool for sustainable agriculture, environmental remediation, and carbon sequestration. Biochar is produced through a process called pyrolysis, which involves heating organic waste in the absence of oxygen. This thermal treatment breaks down the waste […]

Transforming Organic Waste into Proteins – with Insect Larvae

By: Maja Berden Zrimec The alarming rate of global waste production and the escalating demand for animal protein sources have created two pressing environmental and food security challenges. Surprisingly, the solution to both may lie in something as tiny as insect larvae. Insect bioconversion has emerged as a sustainable, economically viable, and environmentally friendly solution […]

INNOBIOVC – Innovation Express for Circular Bioeconomy Value Chains

Funded by: Interreg Alpine Space, co-funded by European Union

Total eligible costs: 520.675 EUR; ERDF grants: 390.506 EUR

Project duration: 18 months

Circular bioeconomy value chains (CB-VC) are becoming more prevalent but are challenging to support due to their cross-regional nature. Typically, the circular input material is generated in one region, while manufacturing or processing takes place in another. As a result, clusters and regional agencies have limited insight into viable models and opportunities for CB-VCs, and financial institutions lack an overview of new circular value chains. INNOBIOVC addresses these issues by rolling out the Innovation Express Call Scheme (IECS) for CB-VCs in a transnational network of six Alpine regions and five countries.

The project will implement the IECS approach in regions that are interested in jointly supporting CB-VCs. It addresses previous bottlenecks like the challenge of finding appropriate partners for mutual product or solution development using the Value Chain Generator (VCG.AI). The project will also develop a sustainability assessment tool (SAT) to measure sustainability gains in functioning CB-VCs, empowering funding agencies, program owners, and investors to better measure sustainability gains induced by funding programs and investments.

The project has four main activities:

  1. Analyzing the current state of sustainability measurement approaches within value chains and on the company level.
  2. Rolling out an improved IECS with a focus on cross-regional value chains, key resources, and sectors such as agriculture, food and beverages, chemistry, polymers, and energy.
  3. Adapting the VCG.AI for better partner matching and exploitation.
  4. Developing a sustainability assessment tool (SAT) to better quantify the social, economic, and ecological sustainability gains.

To achieve success, several regions need to bundle their competencies and capacities to jointly develop cooperation leading to the creation of new biocircular value chains (BC-VC). None of the regions or single project partners can cover all items needed to build a complete BC-VC, and business models or value chains are not bound by regional or international borders. Therefore, all three core items of INNOBIOVC (IECS, SAT, VCG.AI) will be offered transnationally to all interested entities to ensure that the best possible partners will match. This approach will generate relevant new products and solutions through INNOBIOVC, leading to the establishment of new BC-VCs that are expected to grow substantially. These new BC-VCs will play a significant role in promoting a carbon-neutral and resource-sensitive Alpine Space.

Partners: Economic Development Agency Heilbronn Region (Lead partner), Business Upper Austria, Lombardy Green Chemistry Association, Chemistry Cluster Bavaria, and Anteja ECG

Project’s website: https://www.alpine-space.eu/project/innobiovc/