INFO DAY: Open call for the European accelerator CirCoAX, which will scale SMEs in the fashion and textile industry that favour sustainability in the sector, and its potential synergies with other EU programmes aligned with the circular economy principles such as LIFE.
- The application form is open from Wednesday, 21st July at 17h CET.
- The selected applications will receive a financial support of 12,000 EUR.
- Proposals must favour the sustainable transition of the sector, through the circular economy but also social innovation.
- Interested candidates will have until October 13th to send in their applications.
As the closing act within the “Networking, doubt identification and solving about LIFE programme 2021” seminar organized by the Finnova foundation the past Wednesday, 28th July, a CirCoAX by CircularInnoBooster Info Day took place regarding the recent opening of the call for proposals for interested SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs from the fashion and textile sector that would be interested in applying to be part of its accelerator.
The Info Day was a success in terms of attendance, considering that the number of registered attendees reached 115 and a variety of European nationalities were represented: Italians, Turkish, Slovenes, Spanish, Dutch, Belgians, Polish…
The event was hosted by Juan Manuel Revuelta, Finnova‘s CEO. He highlighted the importance of international collaboration & synergies that can arise with other European programmes: ‘Why not try and transform these F&T sustainable ideas into a LIFE project of 2 million euros?’ – asked Mr. Revuelta encouraging potential participants to benefit from the EU’s support for the long-term sustainability of their projects.
CirCoAx’s project leader and Head of Innovation in Istituto Europeo di Design Madrid, José Francisco García, took the opportunity to welcome all partners and potential applicants and presented how the intersection of design, sustainability and fashion can coexist for a more sustainable industry. ‘We want to add value and participate in the great transformation of our times’- stated Mr. García.
The first guest from the institutional block was Luca Marmo from the Directorate-General for Environment: Sustainable Development Goals, Green Finance & Economic Analysis of the European Commission.
‘The Fashion & Textile sector mainly operates in a linear manner, the economy model from extracting resources, using them and then throwing them away after the useful life of a product. The volume of products placed in the markets is increasing due to the phenomenon of fast-fashion and the pandemic has added to the complexity of the textile sector. We have both a drop in production and a considerable disruption in textile supply chains but all this means -in the opinion of the European Commission- that we should work to make the textile sector circular and it is even more importantly in recovering back from the pandemic and addressing also all the waste that the pandemic has generated’. With these words, Luca explained the European Union’s engagement towards a circular economy for a greener Europe and the vital importance of the F&T sector in the creation of a more resilient world.
Joining us from Brussels, the heart of the European Union, Rosa Escamilla from the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) shared her circular economy insights from a perspective that drew attention to the essential role that the regional and local field-work have.
She detailed to attendees the role of development agencies, their initiatives and how they are very useful allies: ‘a sustainable and decarbonized growth must be prioritized. We have to generate new opportunities through green entrepreneurship and European Union’s projects for startups’.
For his part, Finnova’s Innovation & SME Internationalization Director, Adrián Noheda, gave an overview of the many opportunities that the European Union offers to SME and what are the key aspects to take into consideration, stating that thanks to the EU funds mentoring provided to selected candidates, ‘we will try to help their project to be part of an even bigger European project’.
Encouraging potential candidates to apply to the open call, two of the CirCoAX by CircularInnoBooster accelerator’s partners, Paloma García from The Circular Project and Oriol Vilalta from TEXFOR, presented their extraordinary projects and the activities they are involved in in terms of sustainability and highlighted their strong commitment towards a more regenerative fashion and textile industry.
‘Another more conscious, more sustainable way of dressing is possible’, stated Ms. García, highlighting one of CirCoAX main core ideas. ‘We try to be in the avant-garde of sustainable initiatives’, Mr. Vilalta added.
In order to explain in detail the open call and application process and solve all doubts from potential candidates, Sharam Yalda and Samy Kazemi from HumanNation and CirCoAX by Circular InnoBooster project coordinators, inaugurated the technical section of the event. They also introduced an engaging Q&A session where relevant topics such as partnership requirements and partners nationality could efficiently be solved.
Both Mr. Yalda and Ms. Kazemi explained that following the submission of applications, which will close on 13 October 2021, the 30 most disruptive candidates selected will receive a €12,000 grant to scale their innovative ideas. In addition, thanks to the team of industry experts that make up the project, the beneficiaries will have access to mentoring, as well as training and workshops in which best practices to be implemented throughout the value chain will be shared. In addition, marketing knowledge and business plans will be offered to ensure the success and sustainability of the projects once the programme has ended.
Participation in this accelerator not only helps to receive support at various levels to implement new business models in line with an ecological and circular transition of fashion and textiles, but also gives them the opportunity to set themselves up as benchmark projects on a European scale.
To top it off, the Info Day concluded with the participation of Gün Ergör, Datascout’s Marketing Communications Manager and partner of a fellow F&T COSME project, S4Fashion. The goal of the project is empowering designers, start-ups, scale-ups and businesses in order to introduce new sustainable and circular practices in the industry. Regarding the common goals of all F&T COSME projects, Mr. Ergör stated that we are working together “for an economy suitable for a greener future”, inspiring words that traverse the European Commission strategic plan and that will define the Union’s policies.
For interested candidates, the application form of CirCoAx’s open call is already available until Wednesday 13th October 2021, 17h00 CET.
CircularInnoBooster Fashion and Textile (F&T) is a project of the COSME programme of the European Union, with an initial duration of two years and a budget of €1,128,000. It is 75% co-financed by the European Commission.
Led by the IED (Istituto Europeo di Design), along with the Finnova Foundation, Texfor, Circulab and The Circular Project with HumanNation, it aims to transform the highly polluting fashion and textile industries through innovation, fostering entrepreneurship to generate business models based on the circular economy and transforming SME and start-ups into sustainable and circular companies. Through the regenerative economy model, the project aspires to become a benchmark for the total transformation of the industry, from raw materials to the end of life of the garments, providing a solution to the structural problems of the conventional industry.
Moreover, the project has an important social perspective, as it favours the creation of value-added jobs at all levels of production, contributing to the achievement of several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as the end of poverty, zero hunger and gender equality.
To achieve these objectives, the CirCoAX accelerator has been created to provide SME with both financial and business support to enable them to scale their proposals.
The business model of the applications must favour the circular economy, either in the areas of Fashion Design and making, Textile Industry, Education & Research, Dissemination or Communities & Platforms.
Likewise, applications that provide social innovation will be positively assessed.
If you weren’t able to attend the Info Day, you can watch the recording here: https://circoax.eu/open-call-info
COSME is the program for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) of the European Commission.
Through this program, assistance is offered to SMEs to develop their business models, access financing and internationalize. Likewise, support is offered to public administrations to improve the business environment and facilitate economic growth in the European Union. During the 2014-2020 funding period, this program allocated 2.3 billion euros to support SMEs.
The Istituto Europeo di Design is an academic institution that operates in the fields of education, training, and research in the disciplines of design, fashion, visual communication, and management, covering professional, vocational, and business design training. IED has branches across Spain (Madrid, Barcelona), Italy (Milan, Rome, and 5 other cities), and Brazil (São Paolo, Rio de Janeiro). It operates across several EU and COSME countries through collaborations and agreements with institutions, business support organizations, professors, experts, and mentors with whom it has established relationships. IED draws on a broad network of connections in the F&T sector specifically for this project, drawing on R&D in the areas of fashion design, product design, interior design, visual arts, communications, and management.
FINNOVA is a foundation that works for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship at the EU level. With headquarters in Brussels, it operates through collaborations and partnerships across EU countries. FINNOVA expertise in leading communication and dissemination activities for EU projects is coupled with strong proven experience in setting up businesses and entrepreneurial support programmes, like accelerators, incubators and selection and award/ceremonial events.
TEXFOR is the reference textile association in Spain with 400 members. Founded in November 2010 and located in Catalonia, it groups companies of the whole textile value chain, from yarns to fabrics including accessories, finishing processes, printing and dying for the apparel industry, home textiles, and technical/industrial applications. Texfor has specialization and experience, having worked on important EU-level expert committees: University and Vocational Training, Financial capacity building, Cross-Sectoral collaboration, R+D+I promotion, specialized services, and sustainability leadership focused on the circular economy.
CIRCULAB is a business design lab and studio specialised in developing transformation methodology, tools and programmes to help businesses develop circular and sustainable business models. CIRCULAB has designed a toolkit for implementing Circularity in businesses and operates across +23 countries (9 EU countries), supporting projects through +60 certified independent CE consultants, applying the Circ methodology and tools.
About The Circular Project co-designed with HumanNation
TCP (The Circular Project) favours and promotes a circular and sustainable fashion in different areas, offering the fashion industry a communication strategy based on a cross-cutting and systemic approach of the circular economy. TCP combines social, ethical, environmental and economic aspects, and has a strong presence and connections in the sustainable fashion world. TCP has promoted the Circular Sustainable Fashion Week Madrid, a one-of-a-kind event, and also serves as HQ for the Spanish Association for the Sustainability, Innovation and Circularity in the Fashion Industry. TCP is also an ambassador of Sannas (Triple Bottom Line Business Association) and has collaborated in a wide array of Spanish, European and Latin American institutions and enterprises.
For this project, The Circular Project works with HumanNation for the co-design and development of the project. HumanNation is a consulting firm specialised in the development of transformative and disruptive ecosystems of innovation and business: the ‘New Economy’. Based on the Fourth Economic Sector, systemic thinking and co-creation, it promotes awareness within organizations and ecosystems to respect planetary boundaries and social fabric, creating resilient economies at the local level, with a global perspective.