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

Funded by: Interreg Danube

Project duration: 1.1.2024 – 1.7.2026

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.

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.

Improving Egyptian industrial innovation system

The objective of the project is to facilitate the improvement of the industrial innovation system in Egypt, leading to increased competitiveness and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the industrial sector, and promoting their presence in local and global markets while creating sustainable employment opportunities. Anteja ECG, under the leadership of the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry and collaboration with the stakeholders from government, public and private sectors, academia, and non-governmental organizations, will develop an Action Plan aimed at enhancing innovation within the manufacturing sector. Anteja will support the task force in prioritizing measures from the Action Plan for prompt implementation and provide recommendations to the government for the advancement of Egypt’s innovation ecosystem over the next two years. To achieve these objectives, the project will organize a series of workshops to facilitate productive discussions among stakeholders.

Partner: Ministry of Trade and Industry of Egypt

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Date: November 2022 – June 2023

Enabling sustainable development in Kosovo as a potential for job creation and SME empowerment

The aim of the programme is to improve the employment opportunities of the Kosovar population and the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through sustainable development. 

As part of this programme, Anteja ECG conducted a series of Value Chain Mapping Analyses in the Kosovar key sectors. These Value Chain Mapping Reports were intended to provide deep insights into four key industrial sectors and recommendations for the Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade (MIET) to design more tailor-made support schemes. Supported by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, these support schemes aim to improve the overall competitiveness of the metal manufacturing, ICT, food and beverage as well as the chemical sector in Kosovo. More than 250 stakeholders were involved in these exercises by means of various interactive engagements. Anteja ECG was in charge of the design and implementation of the four value chain analyses.  

Partners: Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade (MIET), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (MAFRD) of Republic of Kosovo

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Date: July 2021 – October  2021

EU Horizon RIS4DANU

Sustainable Smart Specialisation for the re-opening of industrial sites in the Danube Region

Funder: European Commission

Call for proposal: HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01

Duration: 24 months (2022 – 2024)

Overall budget and funding source: EUR 1 million

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101058457.

The goal of the RIS4DANU project is to elaborate strategic business development plans for the reopening of 21 disused industrial sites in the Danube Macro-Region, an area that stretches from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. The project aims to apply an evidence-based Smart Specialisation (S3) approach to support the transition to a green economy in regions along the Danube River. 

The project directly connects to the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), a macro-regional strategy to address common economic and societal challenges and create synergies and coordination between existing policies and initiatives. Danube neighboring states share a proud and centuries-old history of manufacturing and industrial production, yet political upheavals, globalization and technological advancements have confronted many Danube regions with the challenges of structural transformation and have triggered the closing down of numerous industrial plants and sites. In many regions, plant closures and the associated displacement of workers caused severe socio-economic effects on workers, local communities and regions. 

At the heart of the RIS4DANU project is the goal of applying an evidence-based Smart Specialisation (S3) approach to support place-based innovation for green/digital and inclusive transitions in regions along the Danube River. This project ties in with current debates and requests to combine smart specialisation with considerations of socio-ecological challenges such as climate change, environmental issues and growing social and territorial inequality: Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (S4+). We argue that the re-opening of old industrial sites shows the potential to build transformative resilience in less-favoured Danube regions. These sites could serve as innovation anchors, unleashing opportunities for the entire region to strengthen their capacity to develop innovative solutions to place-specific ecological, social and economic challenges. Project activities include cross-regional peer exchange and a transfer of knowledge along the Danube River.

Project’s website

Digitalization of sales channels for promotion on the European and East African markets

Project duration: 01.02.2020 – 30.10.2020

Total eligible funding: 9.940,00 €

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of the global trade networks and profoundly disrupted global value chains. Due to travel restrictions, many companies had to rely on their digital sales and communication channels to be able to maintain their business activities. At Anteja, a consultancy firm predominantly based on international trade, our daily business was significantly affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic. The aim of this project was to implement new digital solutions to increase sales and gain new customers on the European and East African markets.

The project results are:

  1. Our promotional and educational video for our digital solution phy2app (video link) supports our clients using phy2app and has so far 250 views. It supports our sales activities and we use it to demonstrate the tool at webinars, conferences and client meetings. The video was shared more than 2000 times.
    With knowledge gained through the project, we have expanded the series of educational phy2app videos and have integrated them in our solution. They have so far reached more than 1500 views.
  2. Our Anteja Africa webpage helps us to generate new sales leads for phy2app, promotes our articles and our clients. So far, it has more than 25.000 views. Through the webpage we have gained interest from more than 200 potential clients and found 2 new project partners, with whom we have gained a significant sales increase. 

The operation has been selected for co-financing under the Call for proposals for co-financing digitisation of sales channels and presentation and marketing materials for promotion on foreign markets.

The investment is co-funded by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

https://www.eu-skladi.si/

E-business to support the creation of sustainable and transparent value chains between Europe and Africa

                              

Project duration: 27.09.2021 – 31.8.2022 

Total eligible funding: 30.000,00 €

The upcoming European Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive will require large EU companies to identify and prevent, eliminate or mitigate adverse impacts of their activities on human rights and environment in their entire global value chains. Within the project “E-business to support the creation of sustainable and transparent value chains between Europe and Africa” we aim to further digitalize our company, launch the phy2app platform and support EU businesses in the creation of sustainable and transparent value chains between Europe and Africa in light of the upcoming legislation.

The aim of the project is to upgrade our digitalisation processes in order to speed up the interactions with our international customers and partners and to elaborate a digital marketing and sales approach within the following activities:

  • electronic exchanges between partners
  • creation of digital marketing materials for trade fairs
  • website upgrades
  • product-sales video
  • competence training.

This project will enable us to offer highly competitive services to our existing customers, to expand our business in Europe in food, natural cosmetics and natural pharmaceutical sectors, to strengthen our presence in the African markets and increase our global reach. Some expected project results are:

  • a portal to enable login via secure connection
  • successful participation at the Biofach digital trade fair
  • improved website in German and English
  • product-sales video in English
  • increased skills of the management and staff.

The investment is co-funded by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

https://www.eu-skladi.si/

Developing circular economy in Rwanda as a potential for job creation

The aim of this project was to support private sector companies in their adoption of circular economy business opportunities in Rwanda for sustainable economic development and to stimulate job creation in Rwanda.

The project was commissioned in the context of two initiatives: Invest for Jobs and CE4A initiative.

The Invest for Jobs initiative was created by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), among other partners. It supports German, European and African companies who invest and expand their business activities in Africa. Offering advice, contacts, and financial support, the initiative aims to create 100,000 jobs and 30,000 training places in seven African countries, including Rwanda, to improve local working conditions and promote sustainable economic development.

To support circular economic development in Africa, Invest for Jobs co-initiated the Circular Economy for Africa e.V. (CE4A) initiative. CE4A is a demand-driven and results-oriented consortium of multi-stakeholder actors who share the aim of contributing to the global transition towards a circular economy through joint action in Africa. It focuses on the development of circular thinking, waste management and recycling, and the creation of sustainable, inclusive, quality, and green jobs.

Our tasks included:

  1. Creation of a report on the status and development of the circular economy in Rwanda.
  2. Development of 10 project ideas and 5 concrete project concept notes, indicating how Invest for Jobs can concretely support business or cluster opportunities in the circular economy for more and better jobs in Rwanda, through financing agreements or technical assistance measures. 
  3. Based on the most promising concept notes, development of two Terms of References and cost estimates for the tendering of circular economy support services by the GIZ Invest for Jobs programme. 

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Date: November 2021 – March 2022

Enhancing transparency and sustainability of coffee value chains in Honduras

With corporate due diligence legislations on the rise in Europe and consumer demands for greater supply chain transparency, large companies are compelled to address negative human rights and environmental impacts in their global supply chains. These companies need to be able to collect, retrieve and evaluate information about their products and production conditions along the supply chain in real time. INATrace, an open source traceability system based on blockchain technology, was developed by Anteja on behalf of the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) to make agricultural commodities traceable from production up to the final product. It not only promotes trust and security between trading partners but also enhances the efficiency of supply chains, which in the long run should increase farmers’ incomes and a contribute to women’s empowerment. INATrace helps European companies collect, retrieve and evaluate information about their products and production conditions along the supply chain in light of the corporate due diligence legislations on the rise in Europe. It is free to use, adaptable, transferable and scalable.

After successful development and implementation of INATrace in Rwanda (see our project’s Part 1 and Part 2), INA commissioned the implementation of INATrace also for an upscale, focusing on Honduran coffee producers exporting to the European market.

Together with GIZ Honduras we’ve scaled up the system to a robust multi-tenant system and implemented INATrace in Honduras. We conducted a value chain analysis and mapping for the Honduran producer organisations, export companies and trading partners in close collaboration with local consultants to get a better understanding of the requirements for the IT development. Next, we managed the technical system adaptations according to local requirements and circumstances. Afterwards, we conducted the train-the-trainer sessions to build local capacities. We assisted the local consultants in onboarding new INATrace users and in preparation and implementation of user training. Based on the user feedback in both origin and importing countries, the software was further optimised to the local context.

INATrace connects 3 producer organizations in Honduras with their in-country exporters and buyers in Germany and the UK, enabling full blockchain traceability from the moment farmers deliver their coffee to the processing locations until the sales-ready roasted and packaged product.

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Date: July – October 2021

Read more about INATrace in Rwanda on the INA’s website.

Enhancing transparency and sustainability of coffee value chains in Rwanda (Part 2)

With corporate due diligence legislations on the rise in Europe and consumer demands for greater supply chain transparency, large companies are compelled to address negative human rights and environmental impacts in their global supply chains. These companies need to be able to collect, retrieve and evaluate information about their products and production conditions along the supply chain in real time. INATrace, an open source traceability system based on blockchain technology, was developed by Anteja on behalf of the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains (INA) to make agricultural commodities traceable from production up to the final product. It not only promotes trust and security between trading partners but also enhances the efficiency of supply chains, which in the long run should increase farmers’ incomes and a contribute to women’s empowerment. INATrace helps European companies collect, retrieve and evaluate information about their products and production conditions along the supply chain in light of the corporate due diligence legislations on the rise in Europe. It is free to use, adaptable, transferable and scalable.

After the first successful development and implementation of INATrace for Rwandan coffee value chains, the second part of the project involved further development of technologies and optimisation of the system to scale up the use of INATrace in Rwanda. Together with INA and partners Safer Rwanda and Rwanda Smallholder Specialty Coffee Company (RWASHOSCCO), we optimised the INATrace based on the recommendations and feedback given by various system users.

We implemented INATrace to several new coffee farming cooperatives that work with RWASHOSCCO and added additional buyers to the system that can now enjoy the full blockchain traceability of the coffee from the moment the coffee is brought to the cooperatives’ coffee washing station until the product is roasted, packaged and ready to sell.

Our user-centered development approach included implementing user feedback from the previous project phase to make the software more intuitive, including new features that were suggested by the cooperative managers, such as exporting of reports, import of data from previously used systems, increased system configurability regarding company-specific processes, facilities and company-internal system access rights, automatic daily currency exchange rate updates etc.

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Date: July – October 2021

Read more about INATrace in Rwanda on the INA’s website.