American University of Beirut

OSB-NCC receives €416,000 grant to support startups on waste management

​​​Dr. Alain Daou, assistant​ professor in entrepreneurship at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) and his research team from the Nature Conservation Center at AUB (AUB-NCC) are launching their latest project in November 2019 on waste management called MED-InA (Mediterranean Integrated Alliance on Waste for cities and citizens). 

Out of the total  €2.84 million project, the AUB team received 416, 000 Euros to support startups from Spain, Jordan, and Tunisia to work on innovative solutions to tackle waste management. This project financed by the European Union ENI-CBCMED had a very good appreciation. Out of 700 applications, it ranked second in its category and in the top 10 all categories.

Cities on both sides of the Mediterranean face important environmental challenges and increasing costs to collect and treat waste, including expensive investments in landfills or incinerators. The MED-InA project proposes to develop and roll out a “Zero Waste" public policy adapted to Mediterranean cities as an exemplary and participatory approach for waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. The methodology will be co-designed by the consortium partners, a well-balanced operational structure composed of three local communities (La Marsa-Tunisia, Irbid-Jordan, and Ribera-Spain), a public interest group (AVITEM-France​), one private company (E3D-Environnement-France), and two academic institutions (the American University of Beirut​ and Jordan University of Science and Technology). This methodology will place the citizens at the heart of the process and will strongly value a “low tech-low cost" approach by promoting in the South and reintegrating in the North traditional practices that generate little quantity of waste. This work will be linked to concrete updates of municipal waste management plans and support to innovative circular economy businesses in order to act at a multi-level stage and create synergies.

The project is also expected to lead to three capacity-building plans and training programs for municipal staffs and elected members, 15 local awareness-raising campaigns on the Zero Waste approach, 3,000 households using new services and equipment for sorting at source, recycling, reusing and composting, 12 startups selected and supported to create businesses in the circular economy sector, and 2,400 low-cost equipment and services set up for sorting at source and implementing decentralized composting. 

With over 11 years of experience working with over 100 municipalities, running eco-entrepreneurship competitions and working with incubators at community and national scales, AUB will play the lead in capturing innovation and leveraging a circular model through entrepreneurial competition. With the support of the municipalities involved, Dr. Daou from the OSB along with the team at AUB-NCC will select local incubators to receive sub-grant in accordance with a standardized procedure and scoring based on established criteria. AUB experts will work to identify the contextual barriers and enablers to circular economy start-ups in each territory by consulting with key figures effectively applying circular economy initiatives and will provide adapted training on impact model, business model, and scaling. AUB will also advise on the strategic communication adaptation of the innovative methodology to local cultures. 

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