Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
On 10 March 2016, the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region adopted the Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy 2016- 2020. The program aims to transform environmental objectives into economic opportunities; relocate the economy to the Brussels area in order to produce locally whenever possible, reduce travel, optimise land use and create added value for Brussels inhabitants and create opportunities for employment. In order to trigger the transition to a circular economy in the region, the program recognise the need to involve start-ups and small businesses. To increase the interest for circular economy among start-ups, self-employed citizens, small business and non-profit organisations, Brussels launched the initiative Be Circular – Be Brussels.
Be Circular – Be Brussels was set up to accelerate the Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy 2016 – 2020, focusing on circular economy as a means for business development for start-ups and small scale business. Focusing exclusively on small business, the initiative addresses the challenge of how small-scale producers, start-ups and self-employed can find time and resources to develop the capacity for a circular economy. Larger companies, it was argued, tend to already have access to the resources and knowledge to instigate their own move towards more sustainable ways of working, whereas smaller firms need financial and business support.
Good practices and solutions
Be Circular – Be Brussels is a joint initiative by the city agencies Brussels Economy and Employment, Brussels Environment and Impulse.brussels. The initiative was designed as a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs seeking information, support or funding for circular economy projects.
Be Circular – Be Brussels has three goals: 1) to support innovative business ideas; 2) to identify projects that would have a lever effect on the development of the circular economy; 3) to advance public support for different models of this new economic exchange and production-system, such as the reuse of waste and the collaborative economy.63 As such, the Be Circular – Be Brussels is a regional funding platform supporting the circular transformation in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Outcomes & Opportunities
As a governmentally owned funding platform for circular economy, Be Circular – Be Brussels is able to combine both top-down and bottom-up approaches harnessing insights from the business community understanding their needs and opportunities while also having governmental assistance and financial support. This to support the circular transformation of the Belgian business community. The first call for funding was launched in 2016, 41 proposals were submitted – far more than expected. Out of these entries, 8 were chosen related to a diverse range of industries including food, construction, IT, design and retail. Those submitting proposals could also ask for free methodological support ahead of submission to make their proposed activity more circular.
Related SDG targets
- 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.
- 9.B upport domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities.
- 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.
Photo: © Bethany Beck/Unsplash
Project: Circular Baltic 2030