Aarhus University Seal


EmpoweriNg FOod Circular Economy in Startups

AU-ENVS project lead:Professor Marianne Thomsen
AU-BSS Co-lead:Professor René Rohrbeck
Financed by:  Funded under the Erasmus + Strategic Partnerships Program
Duration:sept. 2017 – sept. 2019

The development of entrepreneurial skills and competences is one of the key policy objectives for the EU. There is the awareness that increasing the spread of entrepreneurial skills helps to further develop the mentality and the entrepreneurial culture for the benefit of individuals and the whole society. The project aims to develop innovative teaching materials to reach the central element of the chain: the business coach.  Entrepreneurial skills are learned directly in the field, exposing the potential entrepreneur to bankruptcy or in places such as business incubators or development agencies. In these places it is possible to have one or more coaches / trainers able to teach basic and specialized entrepreneurial skills while working with start-ups (or already developed companies) who face the challenge of market competition every day. Directly empowering trainers will have a greater impact on all future generations of entrepreneurs as business coaches will help shape the entrepreneurial mindset of future European entrepreneurs. The effect of change must not be limited or constrained; rather, it aims to achieve a change of important mentality, in a key theme such as that of the circular economy.    

Main project activities are related to the production of four thematic intellectual outputs:

  • The design and development of a Smart trend Map of circular economy startups creation in Europe with a focus on food related business.

                          Smart Map Questionnaire

  • The design and development of a conceptual Mindmap of best practices and open access material on Circular Economy entrepreneurship, focusing on startups cases;
  • The elaboration and development of a toolkit of training materials to help Startup trainers/Entrepreneurial Coaches supporting new entrepreneurs in the field of CE with a focus on food business opportunities.


AU will contribute to a smart map showing the trend in circular economy startups and innovative businesses around Europe and deliver scientific contributions to the teaching materials in the creation of teaching materials, exploiting its expertise in the field of business support in the circular Economy Area.  A review of existing teaching material, scientific open source literature, online courses etc with focus on Food and Circular Economy contributing to the identification of opportunities and challenges and Ideas and models to train and help entrepreneurs.


Project partners:

Lead – Chamber of Commerce Italy-Malta (Malta)

Cooperation Bancaire pour L’Europe (Belgium)

FVB The Hive (Italy)

Conform (Italy)

Foundation for Circular Economy (Hungary)

Aarhus University (Denmark), Department of Environmental Science (AU-ENVS) and  Department of Business and Social Sciences  (AU-BSS).