New Circular Economy Growth Program to Boost Business: Ready Set Grow!

MEDIA RELEASE – 8 April 2021

Businesses in the Barwon South West Region are set to benefit from a new business growth program that taps into circular economy growth opportunities, creating a win-win-win for commerce, our community and environment.

‘Business people know that waste is an opportunity’ says Philippa Bakes, President of the newly established Regional Innovation for a Circular Economy (RICE) collaborative. RICE includes the Barwon South West Waste and Resource Recovery Group, the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, Committee for Geelong, Geelong Sustainability, Circular Economy Victoria, and AusIndustry as Founding Members.

‘In the past, a good proportion of business was reliant on using the earth’s resources without the recognition that they are finite. We are now facing major environmental issues, changing consumer preferences and rapidly rising waste disposal costs’ Philippa continues.

‘By using circular economy principles to design out wasteful production and business processes, people can boost their bottom line, create entirely new products and services, retain and attract new customers and avoid sending waste to landfill’ she said.

Working with Runway, a not-for-profit that builds the capability of entrepreneurs to be successful, RICE will subsidise up to 20 businesses to participate in a new Circular Economy Business Growth Program running from 31 May to 15 August this year. The program will be part funded by a grant to RICE from Cleantech Innovations Geelong.

Head of Partnerships at Runway, David Spear says, ‘using the proven skills and techniques applied by successful start-ups and scaleups from all over the world, businesses will learn to find new circular economy growth opportunities, overcome barriers to growth, test their emerging growth plans and get set to take their best ideas to market.’

‘The Program is implemented in three key stages that build on each other to reduce risk and steadily accelerate businesses towards their business growth goals’ he said.

These include:

      • Get Ready: Evaluating the gap between the business and external environment, and identifying a new circular economy opportunity – completed in 20 hours over 2 weeks
      • Get Set: Validating, testing and refining the new circular economy growth opportunity and building it into the business model ready to activate – completed in 15 hours over 2 weeks
      • Grow: Executing the validated business model to activate circular economy growth plans with support from industry experts and Runway’s wider global networks – completed over two to three months progressively working on the business.

coloured markers, post-it notes, and a glass of water


RICE is now calling for applications from businesses in the Barwon South West Region wanting to participate.

Up to 20 subsidised places are available in the first stage (Get Ready), commencing 31 May. The top 10 resulting circular economy business growth plans will then be invited to participate in the second stage (Get Set), commencing 2 August.

  • Applications now open, closing 30 April for the program commencing 31 May (concluding 15 August).
  • For more information and program details, please contact David Huggan at Runway on david@runwayhq.co