Aims of the project:

  • Circular Economy Primer course for micro enterprises and SMEs
  • As recent survey 51% of businesses understand CE; 49% see it as an opportunity – SMEs less prepared than larger business
  • MODOS aimed to help SMEs understand CE, improve environmental performance, identify business opportunities
  • The programme was heavily subsidised by the public purse with participant companies paying a nominal fee
  • MODOS course creation involved a wide range of stakeholders
  • MODOS ran as a 6-week pilot, 8 companies took part
  • Modules covered CE, resource efficiency, greening supply chains, design thinking, communication/green marketing
  • Learnings from pilot deployed to plan next iteration and expansion on a regional/national basis

What are the objectives for the initiative?

  • MODOS was designed to help SMEs:
    • Develop an awareness of what is meant by the circular economy
    • Improve their environmental performance
    • Reduce costs, through improved efficiencies
    • Identify new business opportunities in their own business or across their supply chain
    • Upskill and engage staff, which should assist in attracting and retaining talent
    • Identify new business opportunities, which could win new customers or retain existing
    • Network with peers and with business experts
    • Normalise sustainability and the circular economy

What stage is the initiative currently at?

  • A broad stakeholder engagement process was carried out
  • The course content has been created by a multidisciplinary team – this is now owned by the MODOS programme.
  • The pilot has been conducted and an evaluation completed
  • Currently, steps are being taken to make the course more accessible and convenient to companies and more cost effective for local authorities
  • The intention is to make the course more widely available to businesses both within and outside of the Dublin region
  • Partnerships being forged between the ‘environmental’ and ‘economic development’ sides of national and local government to progress the programme

Key learnings:

  • There is an appetite and a need for SME circular economy training

  • The time commitment required to complete the course on a classroom basis was too much for most businesses

  • A blended learning of classroom plus online learning would be a better option

  • Networking was seen as course content and so should be a core component of further iterations

  • Positioning and branding of the programme is key to its further promotion and requires review and work

What were the key challenges and how did you overcome these?:

Challenge:
Promoting the course in the first instance was very difficult – it took a huge amount of work and promotion to get a handful of companies participating.

Solution:
A strong communications plan, lots of networking events, lots of networking at other events, strong partnerships with stakeholders.

What is the most interesting or important part of your initiative that you would like to share?

  • The collaborative approach with a range of business and environmental stakeholders to workshop and co-create the training course
  • The inclusion of design thinking and communications as part of the curriculum
  • That the participants saw the networking and learning from each other as part of the content

Project details:

Organisation: Dublin City Council

How long has the project been operational:The project commenced in January 2019.

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