Rochester Institute of Technology

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Office of Multilateral Affairs (EAP/MLA) is funding a two-year project led by two Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) professors, Clyde Eirikur Hull and Eric Williams, to educate on circular economy principles, develop networks in Southeast Asia to disseminate circular entrepreneurship training, and establish entrepreneurships based on circular economy (CE) principles to promote circular business, sustainable economic development, and environmental sustainability. The project engages with partners such as business incubators, local universities, and non-governmental organizations in the ASEAN region to gain a deep understanding of local challenges and opportunities. The $1 million grant assists the two RIT professors identify incubators and other organizations in the region interested in advancing entrepreneurships that employ circular economy practices. The funding will also support the study and scoping for Dr. Eric Williams’ material flow analysis survey of electronic waste management in the ASEAN region to identify opportunities to increase the reuse, repair and recycling of electronic waste. The project lead, Professor Clyde Hull, says, “This project, by using sustainability science to identify circular economy opportunities and helping new and existing businesses pursue them, represents a new form of cooperation on science and technology development and R&D between the public and private sector—cooperation that has a strong circular economy focus and is interdisciplinary.”

In September 2023 the Circular Entrepreneurship program celebrated its formal launch at the Symposium on Accelerating Science, Technology, and Circular Innovation in Southeast Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia. RIT announced the completion of its circular entrepreneurship curriculum development and signed MOUs with four universities: Strategy First University, National Economic University, Khon Kaen University, and Capital College of the Arts, Management, and Technology. The circular entrepreneurship curriculum is comprised of university level courses with offerings available for undergraduate and graduate students. Faculty at partner institutions will begin training for curriculum delivery starting January 2024. An adaptable version of the curriculum will serve as an E-MBA module or standalone deliverable to incubators focused on flexible training programs and will be offered online through RIT Certified. Through the development of circular economy business models and sharing them with local partners, the project aims to both lead the incubation of new CE businesses in local incubators and help existing businesses migrate to circular economy technology and solutions.

Circular Entrepreneurship program launch, Jakarta, Indonesia (September 2023)
Jim Salzano, President and CEO of Jones & Vining, Inc. shared ways his
company employs circular practices and invests in the local workforce at the
launch of the RIT program in Jakarta, Indonesia. (September 2023)
Dr. Eric Williams presents his material flow analysis of e-waste in Southeast Asia at the launch of the Circular Entrepreneurship program in Jakarta, Indonesia. (September 2023)
Dr. Eric Williams facilitates a brainstorming workshop on circular economy at the launch event in Jakarta, Indonesia. (September 2023)

Visit the RIT webpage for more information and updates via the Saunders College of Business’ blog!