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Sharing Knowledge: Our Train-The-Trainer-Workshop on the Circular Economy

How can such a diverse group as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany be reached with a challenge as big as the Circular Economy? There are no off-the-shelf solutions, but through our train-the-trainer workshop within the project Competence Centre eStandards for SMEs we have supported those who regularly build capacity in SMEs.

Building capacity within peers is one of the best ways to increase impact on a larger scale. The idea is simple. Instead of trying to reach the target group directly, others in the same field of work can be reached and taken along through multiplication effects. Train-the-trainer workshops are a central part of the project; the most recent workshop took place in early May 2022.

The 30 participants were all part of more than a dozen other competence centres that are part of the Mittelstand-Digital network funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. Leveraging the network not only made it easy to connect to the trainers but also guarantee that the ambitions of the “trainers” are similar.

The aim of the workshop was both to understand the concept of the Circular Economy and to learn how to apply it directly. This means that the “trainers” not only learn about the circular economy itself, but also received practical applications for their work with SMEs.

One tool to provide this practical experience was the Circular Economy Guide, which was co-developed by the CSCP as part of the Competence Centre eStandards for SMEs. The tool provides a practical and interactive way to look at SME value chains and potential points to promote circular economy practices. The approach aims to be holistic and beyond the value chain. Other approaches such as business models and technologies that can help promote the circular economy in SMEs were explored. Overall, both analytical tools and tools for implementing circular economy measures could be discussed interactively.

“It was great to see the strong interest in the topic of circular economy from the other trainers. It shows that demand from SME’s to find hands-on circular solutions is growing, which is essential to achieve the sustainable transition of the German economy”, says the CSCP Circular Economy Trainer Thomas Wagner.

The CSCP experts from the project team could build on the experience of working with SMEs also from other projects of the CSCP like the Charta for Sustainable Digitalisation, which focuses on Circular Economy in the context of sustainable digitalisation and CSR.digital that offers expertise and SME tools on the intersection of the mega trends of digitalisation and sustainability.

The train-the-trainer workshops will enable more competence centres to support SMEs in implementing circular economy practices in the context of sustainable digitalisation.

For further questions, please contact Thomas Wagner.