In 2021, Europe witnessed the birth of 85 “Unicorns”, new technology companies worth $1 billion or more. Unfortunately, many of them were forced to leave Europe, a huge loss in terms of jobs, intellectual property and brain drain.

JRC 2022 report “Looking for EU unicorns”, describes this trend as continuing, with companies such as Just Eat, Skype, Transferwise or UiPath (among others 40), originally European, now providing thousands of jobs and making billions of investments from their headquarters outside Europe.

Project regions are also experiencing this exodus of to-be-unicorn start-ups and must take measures to combat the large Unicorn Hubs in the capitals of the EU and the US.

Partner regions want to be different through different ‘little valleys’ that offer space for experimentation, using the local community as a testing ground for future unicorns. These ‘little valleys’ will retain and attract sonicorns who want to grow according to EU values such as respect for human rights, freedom, democracy and equality. These values are the essential foundation for distinguishing ‘valleys’ from other hubs, especially in the US and the Far East, creating strategic differentiation for the regional ‘valleys’.

Through the exchange of experiences between regions, partners will share regional experiences and use the Harvard CASE method to establish peer exchange and facilitate learning between partners, expecting to improve 9 policy tools in the first 36 months of the project.



What is CE4RT?

The CE4RT project is a trans-national collaborative project supporting a network of tourism SMEs across five partner European hubs in the areas of Sustainable Practice, the Circular Economy and Regenerative Tourism. The focus of this project is to provide tourism SMEs with the tools to implement regenerative practices as a long-term strategy within their region and to contribute to the continued resilience, viability and competitiveness of the industry. 80 SMEs from across the network will be chosen to participate in this project and will be provided with a suite of knowledge and training based on the specific needs and the readiness stage in the sustainable journey.

This will be achieved through a range of activities such as training seminars, mentoring, coaching, community events and familiarisation trips. A repository of knowledge will be created and disseminated on various platforms, not just to the participating tourism SMEs, but will be made available for all tourism practitioners throughout Europe as well as higher educational institutions. An innovative methodology will be employed involving the concept of ‘Leaders and Learners’ with 2 SME participants chosen from each participating jurisdiction to act as leaders within the community for the facilitation and implementation of regenerative tourism practice.

Tourism stakeholders from across Europe will be invited to attend a virtual conference from which the outputs of this project can be shared. The CE4RT project aligns and contributes to a number of SDGs and objectives of a range of EU and UN policy initiatives including the European Green Deal; EU Covid 19 Recovery Framework; EC Circular Economy Action Plan; UNWTO ALULA framework; UNWTO transition to a Green Travel and Tourism Economy.

What are the objectives of CE4RT?

  • To develop a peer to peer focused approach and knowledge transfer among tourism SMEs, consortium partners and the wider European tourism ecosystem in relation to the circular economy and regenerative tourism practices.
  • To develop training for tourism SMEs in achieving sustainability certification. Identifying the most feasible and appropriate programmes for each sector.
  • To support tourism SME’s in the adoption of innovative regenerative tourism practices that involves a community led, holistic approach. This focuses not only on the prosperity of the destination but also the people and the planet as identified by the UNWTO (2021) and the objectives of several SDG’s.
  • To incorporate the principles of the circular economy in the short term and regenerative tourism in the long-term into tourism SME business development and value chain.
  • To enable tourism SME’s to communicate their tourism offering while maintaining the ethos, culture and heritage of their destination.
  • To create an innovative approach for monitoring the impact (social, environmental and economic) of regenerative tourism practices in tourism destinations.
  • To ensure the role of the visitor as an ambassador for regenerative tourism in a destination through their own conservation actions and how this experience can result in positive word of mouth and repeat visits.

Project organization structure

The CE4RT Project is funded under the SMP-COSME-2021-TOURSME (COVID-19 Recovery Through Sustainable Tourism Growth and SME Support) program. The project activities are distributed into 6 Work Packages (WPs), each one with a defined scope and objective.

List of participants in the project



Munster Technological University, (MTU), Ireland

Role: Project participant, Coordinator

Responsibilities: Lead Partner WP1, Joint lead partner WP3, Lead partner WP6



Iceland Tourism Council (ITC), Iceland



Role: Project participant, Partner

Responsibilities: Joint lead Partner WP2



Stichting Business Development, (BDF), Netherlands

Role: Project participant, Partner

Responsibilities: Joint lead partner WP5




Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance , (DTPA), Ireland



Role: Project participant, Partner

Responsibilities: Joint lead Partner WP2




The Tourism Space (TTS), Ireland



Role: Project participant, Partner

Responsibilities: Joint lead Partner WP3





Eastsavo Educational Federation, (SVCS), Finland

Role: Project participant, Partner

Responsibilities: Lead Partner WP4


Danmar Computers, Poland



Role: Project participant, Partner

Responsibilities: Joint lead Partner WP5






“Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation

 Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISME). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”

Project: 101085456 — CE4RT — SMP-COSME-2021-TOURSME


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