Circular Kick-Start Ghent Region

First circular start-up programme in Flanders

In 2019, The Global Picture (in collaboration with BNP Paribas Fortis, Stad Gent, Acerta, Econocom, Unizo ...) launched the project The Circular Kickstart: a start-up programme with an exclusive focus on circular entrepreneurship.

With this project, we want to show that circular start-ups are the entrepreneurs of the future. Our goal is to guide start-ups in their journey from idea to market-ready circular solution. Therefore, our programme not only focuses on essential entrepreneurial skills (such as drawing up a business and financial plan, pitching, marketing ...) but our start-ups also get a crash course in activating circular business models. During the course they obtain a circular mindset, learn to create their own circular value proposition and discover how to integrate circularity into the core of their business model. Through this unique two-sided offer, startups get all the ingredients to turn their idea into a successful circular business.

All startups are welcome, because circular business models work in every startup. We also want to attract pre-starters as well as startups and scalers. Where pre-starters are still in the conceptual phase and can immediately integrate circularity into the core of their business model, startups and scalers will rather focus on rethinking their existing product in terms of circularity.

Although this project is only a pilot edition, our ultimate goal is to develop a structural, annual start-up programme in Flanders.

Partners Gent, Provincie Oost-vlaanderen, De Startersfabriek, Ministry of Makers, BNP Paribas Fortis, Acerta, Econocom, C02 Logic, The Global Picture, Apollo18, Cojak en Vlaanderen Circulair.





  1. We developed a unique accelerator programme to provide intensive support to start-ups through training, workshops, individual coaching and mentorships.
  2. Besides the intensive Kickstart programme, we also organised a light version: Start Circular. With this programme, we want to introduce starters interested in circular entrepreneurship through short sessions and inspire them as much as possible.
  3. We succeeded in positioning The Circular Kickstart in the start-up landscape in Flanders and set up a large public-private partnership around circular start-ups in Flanders.
  4. The project was only a pilot edition, but will have a sequel. At the end of 2020, a new (online) edition was already launched in Ghent and Bruges.



  1. Circular entrepreneurship is our focal point and also what distinguishes us from other start-up programmes. We have learned throughout the programme that we should not focus so much on our size, but rather on themes directly related to circular entrepreneurship.
  2. A clear structure is essential for a start-up programme and a joint basic programme in which all Kickstarters participate is therefore necessary. At the same time, we want to limit the collective programmes to the essentials so that there is enough room for individual coaching.
  3. To motivate participants even more to do their homework, clearer milestones are needed, possibly with some form of reward. Therefore, in the next edition, we would like to work with milestones and dates by which participants have to deliver something.
175 participants in the launch event
10 starters intensively guided
21 lectures and workshops
500 community members


Based on the feedback from the participants, the programme will be adjusted and improved into a structural and annual programme, to be launched at the end of 2020 in Ghent and Bruges. Because of corona, the 2021 edition will be mainly online. It is possible that in the course of 2021 we will expand to a third Flemish province, such as Antwerp.

We will also continue to expand our Start Circular light version online.