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

EU Horizon CEE2ACT

Empowering Central and Eastern European countries to develop bioeconomy strategies and action plans


Funder: European Commission
Call for proposalHORIZON-CL6-2021-Governance-01-10, Horizon Europe Coordination and Support Action project
Duration: 36 months (1 September 2022 – 30 September 2025)
Overall budget and funding source: EUR 3.9 million
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101060280.

The European Green Deal has set Europe on its path to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050. Achieving green transition must be just, fair and inclusive. One of the seven core pathways to deliver on climate neutrality is the bioeconomy. The 2018 updated EU bioeconomy strategy has highlighted the relevance of developing national bioeconomy strategies and action plans to deploy a sustainable and circular bioeconomy across Europe considering economic, social and environmental aspects. 

To date, there are still Member States, including many from Central and Eastern Europe that do not have a national bioeconomy strategy and action plan despite their high biomass resource base and new bioeconomy potential, although there are relevant regional initiatives to develop bioeconomy strategies. 

The objective of CEE2ACT is to empower countries in Central Eastern Europe (Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) and beyond (Greece, Republic of Serbia) to develop circular bioeconomy strategies and action plans, through knowledge transfer and innovative governance models, to achieve better-informed decision-making processes, societal engagement, and innovation, building on the practice of experienced countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden). Knowledge transfer and inspiration in creative formats that address the motivations, needs and knowledge gaps of each CEE2ACT target country will be realized through the CEE2ACT National Bioeconomy Hubs. 

A bottom-up approach will be applied throughout the project activities, tackling specific knowledge gaps and shortcomings of the top-down conventional approach, building closer interconnections between actors across public institutions, private sector, industry, energy, SMEs, feedstock providers (e.g., waste, side streams, farmers, foresters, fishermen), academia and research, NGOs, CSOs in the target countries. 

To achieve this, a baseline assessment will be carried out, and stakeholder engagement activities will be implemented ensuring the active participation of all relevant stakeholders. Digital solutions for sustainable governance will be created, supporting the exchange of best practices on technology transfer, and building the capacities of the stakeholders to develop bottom-up bioeconomy strategies. 

Findings will be used and disseminated through practical tools, guidelines, and policy recommendations to support beneficiary countries to develop flexible and inclusive bioeconomy strategies and action plans, boosting societal engagement in the countries’ transition toward a circular bioeconomy. 

Coordinator: María Beatriz Rosell, Senior Project Manager, Geonardo Environmental Technologies Ltd., Email: maria.beatriz.rosell@geonardo.com
Media & Communications: Nathalie Bargues, Project Manager, Greenovate!Europe, Email: n.bargues@greenovate-europe.eu
Upcoming website: www.cee2act.eu
Social media channels: LinkedIn and Twitter

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.

Enhancing transparency and sustainability of coffee value chains in Rwanda (Part 1)

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.

For the first time, INATrace was successfully implemented for Rwandan coffee value chains with the aim to empower women’s coffee cooperatives and to increase coffee value chain transparency. Together with INA and partners the International Women’s Coffee Alliance and Rwanda Smallholder Specialty Coffee Company (RWASHOSCCO), we worked to:

  • improve supply chain traceability
  • create transparency between the actors along the supply chain in regard to supply chain processes, product quality and prices paid to local producers
  • make this information available also to end consumers through a scannable QR code on the coffee packages.

Through efficiency gains along the value chain and a greater awareness, an increased farmers’ income and a contribution to women empowerment is intended in the long run.

Our work included technical implementation, testing, software maintenance and preparation of training materials and documentation. First, the value chain was mapped from women coffee growers to end coffee consumers in Germany to define the visual prototype concept and prioritization of functionality. Technical implementation included several rounds of iterations to develop the MVP prototype, beta version, and the final solution. The final result is an open-source blockchain-based track and trace system. The system provides blockchain verified information on provenance and sustainability attributes to members of the value chain and consumers. The application allows German companies to demonstrate their compliance with the upcoming EU and German due diligence legislations.

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Date: 2020

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

EU Interreg GoDanubio

Participative ecosystems to foster the revitalization of rural-urban cooperation through governing circular bioeconomy in the Danube regions and cities.

Project duration:

Project start date: 01-07-2020

Project end date: 31-12-2022

Funding/Budget

Overall: 2713796.5 EUR

ERDF Contribution: 2214155.21 EUR

IPA Contribution: 92571.8 EUR

ENI Contribution: 0 EUR

Danube regions and cities face major societal transitions regarding demographic change. The rural exodus is caused by better employment opportunities for the youth and the prospect of a better life in cities. The movement of labor leads to depopulated areas leaving an aging and increasingly unskilled population behind. However, regions can make a significant new beginning. But a multi-level participative governance approach and new institutional capacities are needed to pool existent excellent competencies and development potentials.

Co-creating future strategies to increase the attractiveness of rural areas is the key to give the youth new incentives to revive rural areas. Circular bioeconomy is used as a tool that promises to foster regional development: It is a concept focusing on the transition of a fossil-resource based economy towards an economy making use of sustainable production of biological resources and processes to develop new products, thus setting rural areas and their development into focus.

The concept catalyzes interdisciplinary cooperation also between different policy areas/levels to actively address demographic change, by enhancing value creation through new collaboration, business models and value chains raising the attractiveness to stay and even move to rural areas.

Long term goal of the project is to enhance the socio-economic status of the regions, contribute to environmental, climate and resource protection as well as foster development of rural areas. An ecosystem for systematic multi-level governance with actors from the interested public, academia, industry and political decision making will be developed.

That ecosystem gives space for co-creation and new forms of integrated urban-rural cooperation leading to increased institutional capacity to tackle demographic change. Thus, overcoming the persistent lack of engagement of societal actors in the political system by giving them ownership to address demographic change.

Project website