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CircuLead is a 4-week programme designed to empower women entrepreneurs building innovative solutions in the Resource Efficiency (RE) or Circular Economy (CE) sectors. The programme aims to support women leaders strengthen business models, deepen leadership skills and learn from peers through a hybrid, immersive learning experience.

The EU-Resource Efficiency Initiative (EU-REI) is implementing CircuLead programme with support from Nüshu Network, powered by Unlock Impact.

EU-REI is implemented on behalf of the EU by a consortium led by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) and adelphi. 


The programme's primary objectives were to:

  • Support Women-Led Businesses: The programme aimed to encourage and support women-led businesses operating in Resource Efficiency (RE) and Circular Economy (CE), facilitating the refinement and growth of their models.

  • Gender Mainstreaming Conversations: Engage key stakeholders in India and the EU in conversations surrounding gender mainstreaming within the circular economy.

  • Generate Awareness: Create awareness about circular economy models to a wider audience and highlight the work of the EU Resource Efficiency Initiative.

Key Activities

To achieve these objectives, CircuLead undertook the following activities:

  • Impact Stories

Identified and documented 7 women-led and women-centric CE solutions in India, showcasing successful business models across diverse industries.

  • Training Programme

Designed and delivered a four-week training sprint for a cohort of 14 women entrepreneurs involved in circular economy solutions. The program exposed broader ideas, connections, and opportunities, culminating in a 2-day in-person workshop.

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Successful Businesses in Circular Economy

Explored insights from successful businesses in the circular economy through panel discussions and case studies on sustainable practices and innovative approaches.

Leadership Modules

The cohort delved into self-paced leadership modules covering Imposter Syndrome, Company Culture, Investment Readiness, and Personal Branding, facilitated by reflection assignments and collaborative activities for knowledge exchange.

Pitch Perfect

A platform for participants to present their pitches in front of industry experts, enabling a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights.

Business Model Canvas Workshop

Comprehensive exploration and development of innovative business models in the circular economy space

Funds Mapping

An exercise, empowering participants to compile a repository of funding opportunities through collective effort.

Impact Measurement Tools

A workshop focused on utilizing Impact Measurement Tools to evaluate project effectiveness and outcomes.

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Case Studies

CircuLead documented case studies of successful circular economy and resource efficiency businesses, specifically focusing on women-centric and/or women-led initiatives. These case studies serve as practical learning resources, offering insights, inspiration, and role models for aspiring women entrepreneurs. The businesses showcased exemplify the integration of people, profitability, and the planet, demonstrating the feasibility and scalability of sustainable and inclusive business practices.

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About Us

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About EU-REI

EU–REI (European Union – Resource Efficiency India) project aims to foster efficient and sustainable use of resources in India. The overall objective is to support India in the implementation of the UN global sustainable consumption and production (SCP) agenda by way of adapting international standards and business best-practices on resource efficiency. EU–REI builds on the learnings from the GIZ – Resource Efficiency project, thus the policy background has given rise to the demand for this project. The EU–India strategic partnership provides its multilateral context; sectoral studies and action plans provide the situation of the four sectors targeted by the project, i.e. mobility, construction, renewable energy and resource recovery from waste. The project is implemented on behalf of the EU by a consortium led by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) and adelphi.


About adelphi

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adelphi is Europe's leading independent think-and-do tank for climate, environment and development. We are some 350 strategists, thought leaders and practitioners working at the local and global levels to find solutions to the most urgent political, economic and social challenges of our time. As a policy consultancy, we support a just transition towards carbon neutrality and sustainable, liveable societies. Our work is grounded in transdisciplinary research, evidence-based consulting and stakeholder dialogues. With these tools we shape policy agendas, facilitate political communication, inform policy processes and support decision-makers.

About Nüshu Network

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Nüshu Network offers community, coaching, and capital for women entrepreneurs in Asia who are looking to build and grow sustainable enterprises. We believe women-led businesses build for long-term change and are an integral part of equitable economies. We back women-led businesses of all types, even those that may not qualify as hyper-growth under the lens of traditional capital, but are creating models with healthy profitability, growth, and impact. Nüshu Network is an initiative from Unlock Impact, a firm dedicated to help purpose-driven enterprises succeed.

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About Unlock Impact

Unlock Impact is a women-led gender-smart firm that works across South and Southeast Asia. We bring together experience, knowledge, and networks to help growing, purpose-driven enterprises deliver measurable impact. Unlock Impact operates through three verticals - Comms Ninja, Nüshu Network, and Villgro Philippines. Over the last 6 years, we have delivered 13,000+ hours of communications and marketing support, worked with 90+ social impact startups, and built a community of 500+ women entrepreneurs.

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