The 2nd Meeting of the Local Support Group (LSG) of the project "Circular Economy for Small and Medium Enterprises - additional activities", with the acronym CESME+, was organized by the Local Development Organization ANATOLIKI S.A. (lead partner) and the Regional Development Fund of Central Macedonia (RDFCM) on behalf of the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM), as partners of the project. The event was welcomed by Mr. Konstantinos Michaelidis on behalf of RCM, Deputy Head of the Autonomous Directorate for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support.

The meeting took place on Friday, September 16, 2022, at the Creativity Platform meeting place, Egnatias 45, Thessaloniki. The Creativity Platform is a non-profit collective scheme that wishes to be an interdisciplinary platform for the exchange of ideas, action, research and applications around the issues of "creative capital " and the "creative economy" in the city of Thessaloniki and the Greek area in general. The choice of the specific venue was made with a view to a guaranteed interaction of the involved stakeholders of the CESME+ project, coming from different environments, such as professional bodies, businesses, the academic community, policy makers and civil society.

The participants were representatives of the following: Open Farm, Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry, InCommOn, Solid waste management body of Central Macedonia, COSMUS DIY Association, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, HIGGS, Major Development Agency Thessaloniki SA, Markets of Organic Products’ producers of Thessaloniki, Greek agricultural organization-DIMITRA.

The CESME+ project is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE Program and concerns additional activities following the CESME project - Circular Economy in Small and Medium Enterprises, which was completed with great success in 2020. During the second meeting of the Local Support Group (LSG) of the CESME+ project, which is the last LSG meeting in the framework of the project, the topics presented were:

• The Additional Activities of the CESME project will be completed in September 2022. The activities’ core is the exchange of experiences, through highlighted good practices and through meetings of partners and stakeholders for the promotion and adoption of the circular economy by SMEs. An additional key pillar of the project is the policy tools’ influence in the regions of the project partners, aiming the recovery of Small and Medium Enterprises from the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, by adopting the circular economy and sustainability.

• The New Good Practices of circular economy that were highlighted by the project partners and which combine 3 parameters: the circular economy, SMEs and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

• The proposals for the RCM’s policy tool influence, incorporating the principles of the circular economy. The policy tool selected for influence within the CESME project is the Regional Operational Program of Central Macedonia (ROP CM) 2021-2027. The ROP of the Region for the new programming period was submitted by the Special Management Service of the Operational Program of the Region of Central Macedonia to the relevant services of the European Commission and was approved on September 5, 2022.

Next, there was a discussion about the proposals for strengthening the agri-food sector enterprises of the Central Macedonia Region and about the creation of competitive, sustainable products through the circular economic model, in which the role of the design consulting services in the value chain was emphasized.

In addition, there was a presentation of the Creativity Platform's activities, by Mr. Panos Remoundos, co-founder of the platform.