Circular economy focus for 12 businesses taking on the BVIH Activate program


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In early August the Bega Valley Innovation Hub (BVIH) Activate program commenced with 12 start-ups or businesses joining the program that this year focused on creating circularity innovators and entrepreneurs. The cohort of innovators were inspired by a talk by executive chairman of Bega Cheese Barry Irvin in May which launched Bega Cheese’s master plan to create a circular economy in the Bega Valley through various projects and support programs for businesses in the region over the next ten years. “It’s pretty much recognised globally that the linear economy is creating a lot of problems for us and what we mean by linear economies is take, make and dispose.” Mr Irwin said words such as “sustainability” and “global emissions targets” are now terms of the past. “Circularity is the language of the future so you move beyond sustainability.” With Irwin’s support to create Australia’s first net-zero footprint region within the next 10 years by driving the idea of circularity, this year’s cohort are powered by their diligence to create a different kind of economic model for the Valley. The types of businesses joining the program this cohort range from eco modular-homes, 3D printing using recycled plastics, an ecofriendly book service. Environmental education, circular fashion, a disability social network, permaculture, eco skincare, virtual house planning and business consultancies. The BVIH recently received an additional 2 years of funding as the recipients of an Entrepreneurs’ Programme Incubator Support Initiative Grant with AusIndustry. BVIH will expand on their regional incubator model that began in 2019, supporting local start ups and entrepreneurs scale their business and to assist in the recovery after Bushfires and COVID-19. READ ALSO: Barry Irvin talks innovation and its importance for the region and nation’s future Ben Buggy from Green Craft wants to work with clients to create smarter outdoor spaces. They are a gardening service that can help create or modify a space and can assist with growing better produce, such as through building anti-aviary covered gardens and orchards. Yolanda del Valle-Buetefuer from South Coast Circular Fashion is looking into textile recycling in The Bega Valley as well as the the potential of 3D printing of custom fashion with recycled plastics or filaments from polyester. Though the aim is primarily to support fashion suppliers in the region to transition to fashion circularity through the creation of a sustainability Manifesto commitment and a customised transition plan. Steven Harvey from Agro Physics wants to provide farmers and businesses with custom-engineered plastic products, using 3D printed and recycled materials, all sourced locally via the blossoming Bega Valley Circular Economy. Olaf Thiele from MOBEASY (working name) wants to create a modular tiny housing system that grows or decreases in size depending on the requirements of its users. Unlike stand alone solutions with a set footprint, this product adjusts to the needs of its inhabitants and is transportable. Modules can be repaired, replaced, recycled. Hannah Shaw from The Readership wants to delivers quality reads from door to door. It will be a book subscription with a lighter footprint where books can be returned to receive the next curated read. There will also be complementary readings and mini-experiences included with every book. Doug Reckord from Bega Tathra Safe Ride is working to create a community bike group that is committed to building an active transport link between Bega and Tathra. Jenette and Jason Simpson from My Small Business Coach want to provide over 140 world-class courses with results in under 15 minutes for small business owners who want to upskill. Nathan Johnston from Disability Club wants to create a social media network for people living with a disability. It will facilitate communication between individuals so they can network, discuss issues, and make new friendships. Penny Green and Steven Katona from Minima Solutions are working on an integrated management system for organisations, allowing board level decision makers to understand the processes and capabilities within the organisation. John Scanlon from Virtual Modular is working on creating a ‘virtual modular building system’ which is a custom-built home that relieves budget stress. Matthew Gibbs and Isaac Lynnah from Your Virtual Home/2pi Software are working on a virtual reality experience that will allow you to better visualise a new home before it is built. Kay and Gregg Saarinen from Saarinen Organics are working on a reusable packaging system. After their online learning sessions have been completed, the cohort will present their pitch. The date that the cohort will be pitching their ideas and to which industry professionals is yet to be confirmed.



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