Through this project Happonomy vzw wants to develop an innovative circular business model. We want to strengthen the circular entrepreneur, both in terms of entrepreneurial knowledge and self-insight. Our model focuses on more planning, more self-care and more patience to build a more mature organisation around circular solutions. This should lead to better business results with less pressure and greater employee and customer satisfaction.
The project consists of two components. On the one hand, we want to design an innovative circular company model in which we place the stakeholder at the centre. In doing so, we want to inject circular principles into the core of business creation and profit allocation. On the other hand, a team of psychologists, business experts in corporate strategy, labour law and business management worked on a modular one-year organisational development path. This path is supported by advanced HR technology.
In order to validate and sharpen our developed approach, we worked together for a year with Roof Food, a Ghent-based circular start-up in urban agriculture.
Because we attach importance to good communication, especially in times of corona, we organised three webinars and an article series on sustainable business models. In addition, we made a report with online articles and videos about Roof Food to spread a realistic image of life as a circular entrepreneur. In this way, we want to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs and raise awareness about the challenges of sustainable entrepreneurship.
We supported start-up Roof Food in its sustainable transformation: we ensured its short-term continuity, redesigned its organisation together and developed a business model that also focused on sustainability for the entrepreneur herself.
We designed a roadmap to sustainable entrepreneurship for circular start-ups, supported by eight content modules. These contain various sustainable tools: a measurement framework, sustainable management principles, a regenerative business model canvas, etc.
We investigated the possibilities and limits of Belgian company law to set up companies sustainably. This led to a ruling procedure, a webinar and a standardised legal model with a set of sustainable management principles.
We put circular entrepreneurship and the related challenges in the spotlight nationally and internationally through PR (Trends, Sustainable Brands), an extensive online communication campaign and three webinars.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Belgian tax law stands in the way of sustainable entrepreneurship. Despite a positive precedent, the ruling procedure showed that those who want to work in circular start-ups are 'penalised' fiscally. This is an absolute brake on value-driven innovation.
The need for appropriate guidance for sustainable and circular entrepreneurs is even greater than expected. We have received interest and questions from all over the world, which only confirms the usefulness of our developed model for circular start-ups.
Sustainability for the entrepreneur himself is a topic that needs more attention. We noticed that the awareness about the impact of personal sustainability on the sustainability of the organisation is not always clear.
There is a need for more pragmatism in the transition to circularity: many entrepreneurs are put off by the complexity of existing measurement frameworks or quality labels. The sustainable management principles we developed can serve as a 'menu'.
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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The project is a catalyst for our operations and research agenda. We actively promote our model and roll out the eight content modules operationally.
Furthermore, our trajectory will serve as a basis to conclude partnerships with various entrepreneurial organisations in Flemish city centres, in order to explore how the model can be implemented in their operations.
In addition, our trajectory and the content of the modules will be included in the development of a broader technological solution for start-ups and for value chain transformation in large organisations where start-ups belong. We will share the approach within the modules via a technologyplatform in order to share the accumulated knowledge at minimum cost and with maximum scalability. To this end, we want to set up a cooperative organisation, based on the developed company model.