Why Circular Economy? London’s newest entrepreneurs make the case
14 June 2022 - kingscross

What priorities lie for the next generation of entrepreneurs? To celebrate Circular Economy Week 2022, we share thoughts from London’s newest entrepreneurs who are using circular principles to provoke positive change.

Fifty individuals are taking action through The Circular Start Up. Launched in April and delivered in partnership with ReLondon, this eighteen-month free programme helps develop business ideas with a circular model in London. It is also working to bridge the gap between inclusion and climate in the entrepreneurship space, by developing a cohort from underserved backgrounds.

At this early stage of the programme, we asked eight of the participants to share their attitudes, motivations and action towards circular economy.

 


Naomi Bid

What does ‘Circular Economy’ mean to you?

‘A Circular Economy is moving away from a “linear” economy, where we take natural resources, make products out of them and then send them to landfills when we’re done. Instead, we design our products to be used and kept in circulation for much longer and designed with its ‘end of life’ in mind.’

What motivates you to develop an idea?

‘By reducing the amount of resources used from the natural world, and reducing waste, we deplete the Earth less, and in turn it will have a chance to heal. I want my day-to-day work to be directed towards something meaningful for the future health of the planet: work that in the long run, by reshaping the way we do business as a society, will allow the Earth to heal.’

 Why did you join The Circular Start Up programme?

I want to start a business with circular economy principles, I came across this programme and thought that’s perfect!

 

Alexander Rose

What does ‘Circular Economy’ mean to you?

‘For me, it’s a mindset more than anything else. It’s about being responsible for your consumption of key resources, aware of ways to give items you no longer need a second life, and finally, encouraging manufacturers to adopt practices that result in less waste and more responsible business practices.’

What motivates you to develop an idea?

‘My idea CartridgeBuyBack (website going live soon) is a CIC that will repurpose unused printer supplies and use the profits to support a range of criminal justice charities in the UK. I want to stop perfectly useable products going to landfills and stem wasted human potential by supporting prison-leavers with employment support. Let me know what you think about my idea as I am a firm believer that great questions/feedback leads to the best solutions.’ 

 Why did you join The Circular Start Up programme?

‘As a solo entrepreneur, it is easy for one’s mind to become an echo chamber with no external input to challenge your idea and underlying assumptions. The amount of peer support the Circular Startup offers is definitely something I know I need before stepping out fully with my big idea. More broadly, to become part of a community of like-minded people who are passionate about solutions that help society become less resource-intensive and more inclusive of others. The world is a big place, therefore trying to bring about these changes on my own feels counterintuitive, which is why I am delighted to be part of this programme and a growing community of change-makers in the reuse, recycle and repurpose agenda. ‘

 

Frances and Helena

What does ‘Circular Economy’ mean to you? 

‘A system of living on our planet that reduces the need to degrade our precious environment by either using less resources to start with or using the resources that we do need to use as efficiently, fairly and responsibly as possible.’

What motivates you to develop an idea?

‘Our plan to grow microgreens in an urban setting means that hyper fresh nutrient rich food which is very easy to prepare and eat could offer a simple and cost effective way for many to improve their diets. There is lots of evidence that school children eating a healthy and nutritious diet can improve their mental and physical health and educational outcomes. We very much want to help by using an incredibly sustainable innovative agricultural method which limits GHGs and the use of chemicals in agriculture and saves millions of litres of water.’

 Why did you join The Circular Start Up programme?

‘I knew of the incredible work Angie had done with the Feeding the City Start Up programme and the strong reputation that Impact Hub has around the world. We know that the programme will help us make our business better in many ways and that we will learn some very important skills along the way. We are very grateful for this support.’ 

 

Nanna Sandom

What does Circular Economy mean to you?

‘Ways to create and maintain jobs, revenue, and profits for organisations, focussing on utilising things in existence already, rather than extract new raw materials from the Earth. It is a mindset and philosophy which at the core has the mantra ‘Waste isn’t waste until it is waste’ and at every point seeks to extract as much lifetime value from each product, from the moment it is produced.’

What motivates you to develop an idea?

‘The UK has a particular problem, as it has an incredibly high consumption of the world’s resources through imports, and creates the corresponding waste. This is largely not being dealt within the UK, but exported to poorer nations, thus exacerbating the climate problems. There’s an opportunity to lead the way in innovation in this field. Exploring circular business models and initiatives provides the opportunity for innovative ideas to combat over-consumption, product under-utilisation, and waste management in a profitable manner to be tested and scaled.’

 Why did you join The Circular Start Up programme?

‘Big problems require big solutions, and initiatives such as this tie directly into the UN Sustainable Goals. The ability to test my idea in a framework and in the right support network of like-minded entrepreneurs and professional advisors is priceless. Recognising that you cannot change the world on your own and having sounding boards and encouragement to keep going is incredibly important to me – it is about knowing that you need help and that what you think is a great idea may need tweaking and changing to fit where the market is right now, and having the resource and support to do that is what excited me about joining.’

 

Chiho Sharp

What does ‘Circular Economy’ mean to you? 

‘We create an ever-lasting sustainable system to use our resources and practice 6Rs, 3Rs/Reduce, Reuse, Recycle + 3Rs/Rationalise, Repair, Redesign. The first 3Rs have been around for a long time, but without the other 3, it is not complete. The demand from the public has to increase for the manufacturers to produce products that are reusable, recyclable, and repairable with redesigning. If consumers are not aware of 6Rs, it’s less effective. Also, products made based on 6R principles have to be widely available and affordable for the public.’

What motivates you to develop an idea?

‘As a mother of three who has been well informed about the climate change at school, I have been supporting them to take part in protests, making a film, starting a litter picking project and involving in Green Youth Board. I also work closely with local schools and families and noticed that there are so many things that we can do to change the way we do things.’

 Why did you join The Circular Start Up programme?

I joined this program to do my bit. I believe everyone can contribute something to make this world a better place to live. It will be nice to hear other people’s ideas and find out more cutting-edge information in the course materials.  Also, it’ll be nice to work with like-minded and proactive people.’

 


Beril Oturmazer

 Why did you join The Circular Start Up programme?

‘I can develop my idea into a business model and get the right direction from one of the best possible networks. After joining the ideation session, I realised that the approach from the programme managers will help us to get the most of it. For people who think about climate change solutions all the time, ideas come to our minds several times and it can be hard to take the initial step. I am highly motivated to develop my idea under The Circular Startup since I believe circular economy solutions have a holistic approach to include all steps of any process. Besides, being under the same umbrella with participants who strive for a better world is inspiratory’.

 


Keisha Hollands

What does ‘Circular Economy’ mean to you?

‘Doing all that you can to be conscious and proactive in reducing waste and harm to the environment.’

What motivates you to develop an idea?

‘Passion for bees and how important they are to our existence.’

 Why did you join The Circular Start Up programme?

‘Because it is an amazing opportunity from an amazing organization!’