KNOF business community: home to new circular economy business models, already alive in practice
An interview with Mojca Žganec Metelko, founder and CEO of KNOF, establishing a Circular laboratory in Krško that provides a creative innovation centre, a business incubator and coworking space for circular ideas to thrive.
How did it all start with Knof? And when?
KNOF started 13 years ago and was the third registered social company in Slovenia. Our mission was and still is developing sustainable business ideas and connecting people, institutions and companies that care. Knof is now a hub of people, society and businesses, through which we create and implement changes for a better tomorrow today.
What is the impact that Knof provides for the local community, particularly in terms of small businesses, social entrepreneurship and engagement with the circular economy?
We are very inclusive in building our story, we share our knowledge and provide support while making sure we all have fun while working. In all this we are aware that we have no planet B and we are putting our bets on a change for the better.
Our programmes include for example a business sandbox that offers companies the ability to develop and test new circular business models. In case they are successful they can easily be transferred to their parent companies. The business sandbox is equipped with modern technologies and a group of R&D experts.
Another example of our support is the business incubator that helps start, develop and test business ideas on the market and thereby lowers all the risks of starting up a new business on your own. The target group here are individuals with a socially responsible business ideas, even before they open a business.
Our Coworking space in the new Circular lab offers small businesses a workplace in a creative environment, but also access for Croatian enterprises to the Slovenian market, as well as a new trendy place where you can meet your customers.
3. Knof connects large players with entrepreneurs and households. So far, who among the large partners, firms and institutions has contributed to the development of Knof Circular Lab?
We have established the Circular lab based on our experience of working with different stakeholders both from private as well as the public sectors. We are developing programmes and projects in the Circular LAB in cooperation with regional waste companies, Slovenian company for digital marketplace and Mercator supply chain, taking into account their needs. We are members of »SRIP Krožno«, a network for circular economy, and competence centre for circular economy »KOC Krožno gospodarstvo«. We work together on the ground with numerous businesses and industries, from textile and paint producers, to plastic houseware industry.