WertNetzWerke: A New Centre for Digitalisation and Circular Economy for SMEs is Launched!

Current key topics such as Circular Economy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are becoming ever more important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). One of the questions to consider is: How can SMEs use AI as a tool to innovate their business models and collaborate to create circular solutions?

The Centre for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises WertNetzWerke (Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum WertNetzWerke) launched in November 2022 under the umbrella of Mittelstand Digital, a network of competence centres funded by the German government to support digitalisation in SMEs. The new centre is a follow up of the recently-concluded Competence Centre eStandards, a Mittelstand Digital project in which the CSCP was a partner.

The WertNetzWerke competence centre will take a hands-on approach through practice-oriented formats and tools. The centre will launch value creation labs for information and training both in virtual set-ups (simulations) as well as through in-person networking. Moreover, a German-wide roadshow and dialogue formats will be organised to enable knowledge transfer.

As one of the six consortium partners, the CSCP will support SMEs with its expertise on Circular Economy, AI and the EU Digital Product Passport (DPP). The CSCP will facilitate  matchmaking and support SMEs in joint projects and initiatives with other actors.

“In the past years, we have seen an increasing interest by SMEs to engage in sustainability and Circular Economy. However, we often find a lack of know-how on how to start and what to implement. By facilitating collaboration between different stakeholders and supporting with digital solutions, we aim to enable SMEs to strengthen their business models and implement hands-on Circular Economy projects”, says Thomas Wagner, CSCP Project Manager.

Through workshops, webinars, and online tools such as the Circular Economy Guide, the new centre will support SMEs in designing and implementing Circular Economy projects.

During the first activities of centre, CSCP’s Mike Tabel presented solutions and best practices of recent years at the workshop “What helps on the way to more digitalisation and resource efficiency?”, hosted by the Institute of the German Economy (IW), while Thomas Wagner joined the “Basque Circular Summit” to exchange on an international level about sustainable Circular Economy, eco-design and the Digital Product Passport.

In addition to the CSCP, the project consortium includes 6 others partners: GS1 Germany, the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (BME), the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT, the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW, and the Wisnet Innovation Research Institute (w.i.r.i.).

The WertNetzWerke centre is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz – BMWK) and it will run for 3 years.

For further questions, please contact Janna Prager.