Circular Innovation Hub

Improving innovation potential in less innovative regions and non-urban industrial regions in transition with a low innovation performance and weak innovation infrastructure.

Common Challenge

Recent research indicates that the lack of consumer and user acceptance of circular offerings is one of the primary barriers for the transition to a circular economy. 

SMEs face great difficulty in reaching a stage of environmental excellence due to their limited resources to adopt circular practices together with Industry 4.0 technologies. Ineffective enforcement of relevant regulations, poor institutional support, lack of economic incentives, poor technical skills and low environmental awareness also affect the circular readiness in small firms. However, SMEs are vitally important to economy as they represent 99% of all enterprises in EU and generate two thirds off all employment. They account for 64% of industrial emissions in Europe and many analyses recognise that it is highly challenging to achieve the complete implementation of circular principles by them and related supply chains due to the absence of modern technologies. 

Additional challenge facing partner regions is the lack of knowledge and competencies in the circular transition and provision of specialised services which gives the main answer on how to create a value with circular principles. As there is a strong trend of brain drain in all less developed partner regions, regional SMEs are facing the problem of competent knowledge and skills to be able to support circular transition of local SMEs. To this end, more developed regions have a well-developed support ecosystem, which helps these SMEs to develop new services. Unfortunately, in most of the regions where partners come from, this support ecosystem is not well developed and is not providing appropriate digital & circular transition service support, while regional policy measures are very often focused only on infrastructure & equipment investment support and are not specialised to multi-disciplinary circular support services. 

Innovation Hub for Circular Transition

We are creating an innovation hub that serves as a catalyst for driving circular transition, fostering collaboration, and sparking transformative ideas.

Our Goals

The overall project objective is to improve innovation potential in less innovative regions and to a significant extend non-urban industrial regions in transition with a low innovation performance and weak innovation infrastructure, in absolute terms or comparatively to neighbouring regions. 

Concrete actions:

  • Establish JOINT TRANSNATIONAL CIRCULAR TRANSITION ACCELERATOR SUPPORT SERVICES based on CIRCULAR USER EXPERIENCE MODEL combined with industry 4.0 novel technologies that supports circular transition in 2 most challenging circular supply chains: (1) plastic & metal processing sector and (2) construction sector.

Our approach: 

We identify five types of CIRCULAR TRANSITION STRATEGIES which will be tested together with developed user acceptance model: 

(1) CIRCULAR SUPPLIES: business models centered on offering renewable, biodegradable and recyclable inputs;

(2) RESOURCE RECOVERY: business models focused on transforming waste into value through recycling and up-cycling; 

(3) PRODUCT LIFE EXTENSION/REMANUFACTURING MODEL: business models aimed at extending the use period of products by maintaining, repairing, and remanufacturing; 

(4) SHARING PLATFORMS: business models centered around a platform to maximise the utilisation of products or services; 

(5) PRODUCT AS A SERVICE: business models where customers use a product by leasing or paying for use contracts. 

The project will provide real-life testing environment for innovative approaches with developed user-centered, open innovation system, integrating relevant quadruple helix stakeholders from partner ecosystems help to uptake circular technologies in less developed partner regions and accelerate cross-border marketability and technology uptake. 

Offerings in Our Circular Innovation Hub

Green transition tools and services

  • Circular transition indicators assessment tool
  • Smart circular supply chain readiness and maturity level tool
  • Circular value creation tool
  • Technology transfer readiness assessment tool

Ecosystem of experts

  • Academia and industry technology & technical knowledge providers
  • Infrastructure & equipment providers
  • Key account managers – business, networking and funding experts 

E-commerce Platform

  • Streamlines client journey from exploration to implementation
  • Offers services, tools and partners for green transition
  • Simplifies procurement via intuitive e-commerce interface

Project overview

Start date:

12 July 2024

Status: ongoing

End date:

12 July 2024



80.00 % funded by
Interreg Funds





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Need any help? Contact us!

Maja Sušec

Project Manager

Sarah Vidmar

Communication Manager

Marko Močnik

Finance Manager

Borut Zrim

Ecosystem Expert

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