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The Coopen Initiative: Call for Innovators – Circular Economy

The Coopen Initiative: Call for Innovators – Circular Economy

Deadline: 18-Dec-20

The “Call for Innovators – Circular Economy” (hereinafter the “Call”) is part of the Coopen initiative and comprises one of the activities envisaged by the axis dedicated to Open Innovation in the Innovation for Development action plan, a project promoted by Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo.

The call is open to innovators, start-ups, research groups, university departments and spin-offs, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in creating an impactful project in Africa together with an Italian Civil Society Organization.

The Call for Innovators targets the wider sector of innovation by including innovators active both in Italy and Africa: among others, university spin-offs and departments, research centres, start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), individual innovators.


The three main objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

Sustainable Nutrition and Agriculture (SDG 2).
Health and Well-being (SDG 3).
Circular Economy (SDG 12).
Funding Information

The Foundations will grant the CSO leader a minimum of 90,000 euros for each project, some of which will go to the team of innovators selected to implement the solution.
The Challenges

The goal of this call is to identify 15 teams of innovators that will participate in Selection Day.
At Selection Day, 5 teams will be chosen to create a partnership with Italian CSOs to develop an innovative solution for one of the challenges listed below.
The 7 challenges identified by the Italian CSOs are:
Reducing waste production:
Technological solutions to increase agricultural efficiency, boosting production while concurrently reducing waste of water and resources;
Solutions to reduce food waste by reusing the waste in circular models that can be easily implemented in rural communities.
Incentivizing reuse and recycling;
Solutions to recover and re-circulate water used during agricultural production;
Solutions to facilitate the reuse of organic waste, using it in complementary activities that can be implemented in conditions of particular resource scarcity.
Culture of reuse and behavioural change;
Solutions to raise awareness and inform local populations about the need and benefits of proper waste sorting;
Solutions to support farmers and producers in understanding and implementing a more virtuous supply chain in recycling terms;
Solutions to present the advantages of new production models based on the circular economy to the local institutions.
Entrepreneurial training and vision;
Solutions for training and continuous support in technical and managerial skills needed to promote new production models based on the circular economy;
Solutions based on the active involvement of vulnerable groups (women, young people), people with poor education and basic skills, in unfavourable contexts with respect to the new production models based on circular economy;
Solutions that provide a system for collecting, assessing and comparing the skills to be adopted on a large scale to create a digital portfolio of technical profiles and reliability rankings.
Preserving food;
Solutions that use innovative packaging techniques for food products;
Solutions using innovative preservation techniques – systems for efficient cold chain maintenance.
Autonomy, cooperation and support networks;
Solutions to map, track and update the profiles of local innovators and entrepreneurs interested in circular economy projects;
Solutions to identify and involve local experts in the development projects, reducing the dependence of projects on NGO staff;
Solutions to find and continuously update the circular economy experiences present in the territory and already successfully tested, with the aim of presenting virtuous examples that are potentially replicable.
Access to data and best practices:
Solutions to collect and continuously update a database of already tested projects, innovations and models that can be used for pilot projects;
Solutions to make local producers autonomous in prototyping business models, analysing the local needs and resources;
Solutions to simulate a circular economy project and its possible evolution over time, projecting costs and resources in a strategic way.
The Italian CSOs selected through the Call for Interest are: Cesvi Onlus, CIFA Onlus, E4Impact Foundation, Fondazione ACRA, Fondazione AVSI, LiveinSlums, LVIA, Mani Tese.

Eligibility Criteria

To answer the call, innovators must:

African candidates must work in one of the following African countries: Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso or Niger.
Italian candidates must be willing to work in one of the following African countries: Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso or Niger.
Candidates need to have developed initiatives and/or technologies with a 3-6 Technology Readiness Level.
For more information, visit https://www.coopen.it/en/

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