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Project: Boosting digital and industrial capacity for sustainable circular transition of women entrepreneurs in the Danube Region
Acronym: WE.Circular
Project ID: DRP0200020
Implementation Period: 01.01.2024 - 30.06.2026 (30 months)
Funding: The Danube Region Program 2021-2027
Total project budget: 2.399.263,00 EUR
Budget implemented by ODA: 151.800,00 EUR
ODA contribution: 30.360,00 EUR

Partners

RAPIV, Bulgaria – project coordinator | Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" (Bulgaria) | Innovation Region Styria GmbH (Austria)

Tehnološki park Varaždin doo (Croatia) | Institut pro strukturální politiku, ops (Czech Republic) | BWCON GmbH (Germany)

Štajerska gospodarska zbornica (Slovenia) | Pannon Gazdasági Hálózat Egyesület (Hungary) | Public Benefit Nonprofit Ltd (Hungary)

Ropot Botique (Romania) | Slovak Business Agency (Slovakia) | Organization for the Development of Entrepreneurship (Moldova)

Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina | University of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) | Association of Business Women in Serbia (Serbia)

Objective

The main objective of the WE.Circular project is to address a very important challenge – increasing the digital and business skills of women entrepreneurs (WE) for industry transition and equipping key stakeholders with the necessary skills to develop and implement smart specialization strategies, preparing WE of the Danube Region for the transition to industry 4.0, while fulfilling aspects related to the circular economy.

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Description

Even though efforts are being made to support women entrepreneurs (WE), only 25.6% of founders in the Danube region (RD) are women. The gender divide exists in all sectors, including those related to the circular transition and the sectors that support it. COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transition, but it has exacerbated the digital skills gap that already existed and new inequalities have emerged, as many people lack the necessary level of digital skills. In addition to the skills needed for business development and the circular transition, we in the DR need to improve our digital skills to become more competitive.

WE.Circular comes as a response to these specific needs of women entrepreneurs in the DR, through transnational project activities focused on: identifying the needs and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in their digital and circular transition; knowledge sharing; circular and ecological policy measures in DR; improving policies and aligning with the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) to meet their needs; developing a transnational strategy for the circular transition of women entrepreneurs; an innovative training program to develop and improve digital culture and skills, provided by the Learning Network; innovative circular business models for recycling, reuse and reduction developed and tested by women entrepreneurs. Circular Labs, which will also facilitate the upskilling of stakeholders for S3 alignment; strengthening the capacity of public authorities in terms of evaluating innovative circular business models and designing a policy framework to support women entrepreneurs through the Transnational Center for Policy Learning. The consortium consisting of 15 public partners and 11 private partners from 12 DR countries brings together national and regional, public and private organizations, as well as universities, whose specific thematic expertise guarantees solid knowledge and experience necessary to present appropriate innovative solutions. It will modernize existing cooperation mechanisms between target groups based on the Quadruple Helix model. The results of WE.Circular will have a significant economic and environmental impact.

Results

Our partners will test three innovative business models for the circular transition of WE in the laboratory established in Moldova. Ten female entrepreneurs will participate in the training program developed within the project. A transnational strategy and action plan will also be developed. Benefits for SMEs and women-owned businesses will include increased capacity and skills for digital and circular transition in business development, direct support for market penetration through the application of circular business models, exchange of experience and learning from best practices, as well as networking opportunities during project events.


Project website

https://interreg-danube.eu/projects/wecircular

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