Circular Economy SME Business Support Programme for London

A three-year programme jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and LWARB.

Helping SMEs to capitalise on the benefits of the circular economy

The Advance London programme provides free practical help and advice to SMEs in London to enable businesses to adopt and scale up circular business models. The circular economy offers businesses, and particularly SMEs, the opportunity to:

  • Increase their competitiveness
  • Access new markets
  • Grow and expand
  • Improve resource efficiency
  • Drive innovation
  • Build supply chain linkages
  • Become more resilient to external factors

To learn more about the circular economy and how it can benefit your business click here.

What is the programme aiming to achieve?

The Advance London programme will provide support to SMEs in London to improve their competitiveness through the adoption of circular business models or scaling up of existing circular businesses.

A team of highly skilled business advisors will work with businesses to identify the opportunities available and provide practical support to enable businesses to pilot and implement new circular business models.

The programme will support businesses to:

  • Improve their competitiveness
  • Increase growth capacity and generate employment opportunities
  • Introduce new products and services to the market
  • Access finance
  • Improve resource efficiency and minimise waste production.

This will be achieved by delivering practical support such as:

  • Market analysis
  • Options appraisals
  • Financial modelling
  • Business case development
  • Facilitating access to investment and funding

What is the circular economy and why would it benefit my businesses?

The circular economy

A circular economy is one in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end their life. It is a more efficient and sustainable alternative to the traditional linear economy in which we make, use and dispose of resources.  It can generate opportunities to create business value through  new product innovation, additional revenue streams, and access to new markets and customers.

The circular economy has the potential to bring London benefits of at least £7 billion every year by 2036. The nature of the circular economy requires collaboration throughout the supply chain and changes the way businesses interact with consumers. As more and more businesses ‘go circular’ new opportunities will emerge for SMEs to bring innovative solutions to overcome the challenges that businesses face in this transition.

By changing the way we think and breaking away from traditional linear business processes, the circular economy opens up a wealth of opportunities for businesses and provides greater resilience for the future. The agile nature of SMEs means they are well placed to exploit these opportunities and capitalise on the benefits of the circular economy.

Benefits to a business

The circular economy offers many benefits to businesses and in particular to SMEs who are often  vulnerable to market conditions. Some of the key benefits that could be realised by implementing a circular business model include:

  • Access to new markets and new customers
  • Supply chain collaboration and integration
  • Opportunities to create innovative products and solutions
  • Building stronger relationships with consumers by utilising digital technology to change customer interaction
  • Resilience against commodity price volatility and resource scarcity
  • Increased resource efficiency
  • Waste minimisation and opportunities to create revenue streams from waste materials
  • Protection against future regulatory trends
  • Improved environmental performance

London as a circular city

London is a global capital with a thriving economy. It is host to a diverse range of SMEs which make up over 99% of private sector businesses in the city. With world-class academic institutions driving innovation, the greatest concentration of technology firms in Europe and access to the most sophisticated financing network in Europe, London already has much of the infrastructure required to become a leading circular city.

Circular economy business models

Advance London will support businesses to develop, pilot and implement new an innovative circular business models. Our team of advisors will explore these with you and identify the business model that provides the most benefits to your business.

There are many interpretations of circular business models all with case studies demonstrating how businesses both large and small have adopted them. Accenture has conducted extensive research into circular business models and have defined five main circular business models. These are:

  1. Circular supplies: Provides fully renewable, recyclable or biodegradable resource inputs that underpin circular production and consumption systems.
  2. Resources recovery: Enables a company to eliminate material leakage and maximise the economic value of product return flows.
  3. Product life extension: Allows companies to extend the lifecycle of products and assets. Value that would otherwise be lost through wasted materials are instead maintained or even improved by repairing, upgrading, remanufacturing or remarketing products.
  4. Sharing platforms: Promotes a platform for collaboration among product users, either individuals or organisations.
  5. Product as a service: Provides an alternative to the traditional model of “buy and own.” Products are used by one or many customers through a lease or pay-for-use arrangement.
Source: Accenture, Circular advantage: Innovative business models and technologies that create value

How can I access the service?

Advance London is a free service available to eligible SMEs in London. To find out if your business is eligible please refer to the eligibility criteria. If your business is eligible and you would like to learn more about the service, please complete the expression of interest form and return it to info@advancelondon.org.

Alternatively, if you would just like to learn more about the service you can contact the team at info@advancelondon.org.