SoTecIn Factory: New solutions for Europe’s seven industrial value chains
Driving industrial value chains' circular transformation across Europe through purpose-driven systemic ventures.
Launched in June 2022, the Social and Technological Innovation (SoTecIn) Factory aims to bring systemic change to European industrial value chains by driving circularity outcomes in key sectors as defined by the EU Green Deal. The program aims to stimulate the creation of 30 “systemic” ventures over the course of three years, following an open innovation approach that connects entrepreneurs, industry, and society. These ventures will deploy typically underutilized higher R circular strategies to truly maximize the highest possible value of materials at each point in a product’s lifecycle, whilst using the latest technologies, innovative business models, and steward ownership structures to maximize societal impact.
- Clients: European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme
- Partners: Consortium led by INESC TEC, and composed of five other European partners – F6S, BWCON, IMPACT HUB, Metabolic, and CNR.
- Date: June 2022 – June 2025
Transitioning towards circular value chains requires systemic, collaborative, mission-driven entrepreneurial approaches.
SoTecIn Factory aims to support the transformation of European industrial value chains to become low-carbon and circular, ultimately strengthening the resilience and sustainability of European industry.
SoTecIn Factory focuses on transitioning the following seven industrial value chains, as defined by the EU Circular Economy Action Plan:
- Electronics and ICT
- Batteries and vehicles
- Construction and buildings
- Food, water, and nutrients
To do so effectively, we need a systemic approach, combined with implementing solutions focused on higher value circular economy strategies, i.e. rethink, reduce, reuse, repair, refurbish, and remanufacture. These are also called “higher R” strategies, and tend to be underutilized, due to higher complexity, and undersupported by the market, finance, and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem. The SoTecIn Factory sees mission-driven ventures as part of the solution to driving new innovations in this space, supported by new collaborative approaches between industry and society.
From systems analysis to high-impact venture incubation and solution demonstration.
Beginning with a thorough analysis of the seven European industrial value chains to understand the state of circularity to date and core circular gaps, SoTecIn Factory then engages in building communities around the most pressing regional circularity challenges, selects Mission Stewards, and recruits Challenge Owners from the non-profit, public, and private sector who need to solve specific circularity challenges through innovative venture-building efforts.
The program then selects high-potential social innovators via two open calls, awarding 50 proposals with €15,000, a portion of which will engage in capacity-building efforts, and a pre-market technological demonstration with an additional €85,000 in funding.
Insights and analyses from Metabolic Ventures supports those efforts by:
- Integrating systems thinking approaches
- Building a systemic impact measurement framework
- Deployment of the Systemic Ventures Framework (SVF)
- SVF to facilitate solution selection, capacity building, and impact assessment
- Applying the holistic Seven Pillars of the Circular Economy Framework
- Driving the adoption of higher R circularity strategies
Our team will continue with lead governance and impact assessment roles with SoTecIn Factory, along with supporting roles that deploy the Seven Pillars, capacity building of ventures, and promoting a culture of social innovation.
Metabolic Venture’s value chain and stewardship frameworks impact circularity across Europe
By the end of the program, SoTecIn Factory will have provided €3.3 million from its equity-free fund as a financial contribution, as well as capacity-building support to approximately 30 mission-driven ventures distributed in 20+ European countries. These ventures will collectively improve the circularity of the seven regional value chains in a transformative, long-lasting way.
In addition, the SoTechIn program will test a range of innovative models and their deployment in different contexts, including:
- Higher R early-stage innovation
- Collaborative open innovation for systemic impact
- Applied steward ownership governance models in a variety of regions and contexts
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For more information about this project, please get in touch.