- Funded with €4 million by the European COSME program and with a duration of 36 months, FU-TOURISM seeks to establish a robust ecosystem that will provide a lasting impact on the tourism sector, promoting its resilience to future challenges and aligning with the objectives of the EU’s European Green Pact
- An acceleration program will identify and support a total of 102 tourism SMEs from the seven European countries that are part of the project: Croatia, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Austria, Poland and Italy.
13/11/2023 Brussels. Juanma Revuelta, CEO of Finnova Foundation, has participated in Split (Croatia), in the official launch (kick off meeting) of the European project FU-TOURISM. This project, funded by the European Commission through the COSME program (Program for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises), aims to support the transition of European tourism SMEs towards a green, digital and inclusive economy.
FU-TOURISM has a budget of 4 million euros, has a duration of 36 months (3 years) and involves eight partners from seven European countries. The project is coordinated by Eupolis (Croatia), and has as partners Dubrovnik City (Croatia), Consell Insular de Menorca (Spain), Finnova Foundation (Belgium), Envolve (Greece), SYNYO (Austria), Vestbee (Poland) and Open Impact (Italy).
The circular economy and sustainable tourism are a priority for the Finnova Foundation, as explained by the CEO of the entity. “This project is a recognition of the public-private partnership methodology promoted by Finnova to achieve sustainability in the tourism sector,” said Revuelta.
Finnova has extensive experience working on innovative solutions to achieve environmental sustainability in tourism. The Foundation has promoted projects such as LIFE ECOBUS, focused on the reuse of oils from the horeca sector for use in transport in Valencia (European Green Capital 2024), an initiative that, more than 20 years after its launch, is still ongoing. Finnova has also been part of other tourism projects such as the Interreg POCTEP NAPOCTEP (to convert the heritage of the French invasion period into a quality and sustainable tourism product that can create wealth and employment in areas of Castilla-Leon and central Portugal threatened by depopulation and aging), and currently participates in CulturalDeTour, to promote innovation, sustainability and business creation in the tourism sector through a design-driven process.
FU-TOURISM is the second project belonging to the COSME program in which Finnova participates. It has recently been a partner in the CircularInnoBooster Fashion and Textile (F&T) project, a project aimed at transforming textile and fashion companies into sustainable, circular and regenerative enterprises.
STARTUP EUROPE ACCELERATION PROGRAMME
FU-TOURISM supports European tourism SMEs in their transition towards a green, digital and inclusive economy, with a focus on applying the principles of the regenerative economy. FU-TOURISM will develop a supportive ecosystem for tourism SMEs, promoting greater cooperation on innovation between these companies and incubators and accelerators in the sector. To this end, it will launch an acceleration program that will identify and support a total of 102 tourism SMEs from the six European countries that are part of the project through support services for sustainability, digitalization, inclusive business models and direct financial assistance.
During the acceleration program, 10 SMEs from each country will be selected in a transparent and open manner to receive a 5-month support and a grant of €20,000. In addition, the Scaling Up program will select 42 SME consortia (7 per country) to receive a grant of 30,000 euros and corresponding business support.
LIVING LABS FOR TOURISM SME TRANSITION
In the context of the European Union, the COSME Program has proven to be an engine of development for businesses and SMEs in Europe. FU-TOURISM is part of the list of projects funded by COSME between 2021 and 2027, standing out as a joint effort to boost economic growth, job creation and foster business competitiveness on the continent.
One of the key pillars of the FU-TOURISM project is the development of a platform and network of collaborative 4-Helix Clusters, known as Tourism SME Transition Living Labs. These clusters will enable SMEs to be placed at the center of the tourism ecosystem, adopting a multi-stakeholder approach that takes into account the broader needs of the destination, visitors and local citizens.
UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO TRANSFORM THE TOURISM SECTOR
FU-TOURISM not only represents an opportunity for European tourism SMEs, but also for the unique UNESCO tourist destinations; the city of DUBROVNIK, UNESCO Heritage City (inscribed in 1979), and the island of MENORCA, Biosphere Reserve (inscribed in 1993); which will be part of the pilot projects of the program.
These destinations will test the overall Destination Management Organizations (DMO) strategy and support for tourism SMEs, with the help of EUPOLIS, which will integrate the Tourism Impact Model (TIM) and the Digital Readiness Index (DRI) to measure and report on the sustainable and digital transition of SMEs and destinations.
The FU-TOURISM project, aligned with the objectives of the European Green Pact and the EU Digital Single Market, is presented as a unique opportunity to transform the tourism sector towards a greener, more resilient and digitized model.
About EUPOLIS GROUP LTD.
Eupolis Group is an innovation co-creation advisory, training, and development company. We promote wise, agile, integrated, collaborative design, investment, ecosystems, programs, projects, products and services that create value for people, economy and the planet. Our partners are businesses, public and civic organizations, innovators, experts, leaders and change makers passionate to explore disruptively innovative, regenerative, shared wealth business and governance models and value chains.
Envolve Entrepreneurship is a business support organization that has been at the forefront of global entrepreneurial support since its establishment in 2012. The organization champions founders and ignites innovation through an open startup ecosystem founded on efficiency, transparency, and growth. Envolve acts as a talent and knowledge hub, offering cutting-edge upskilling, valuable resources, support for founders, and impactful services and programs to the global community.
Nurturing the next generation of global disruptors, Envolve re-introduces its flagship program, Envolve Accelerator, building upon the proven track record of the former Envolve Awards, in Greece and in the USA. In Greece, the program has fuelled the growth of 37 businesses and has injected over €6,000,000 into the economy, while fostering job creation and economic welfare.
About FINNOVA FOUNDATION
Finnova is a foundation that works for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship at the EU level. With headquarters in Brussels, it operates through collaborations and partnerships across EU countries. Finnova’s expertise in leading communication and dissemination activities for EU projects is coupled with strong proven experience in setting up businesses and entrepreneurial support programmes, like accelerators, incubators and selection and award/ceremonial events.
Vestbee is a leading online matchmaking platform in Europe, connecting VC funds, accelerators, business angels, and corporates with innovative startups and scaleups. Serving as a catalyst for the startup and VC community, Vestbee provides an extensive toolkit, infrastructure and community. Furthermore, it offers startups software to manage fundraising, and investors, corporates, and accelerators a streamlined method for managing deal flow, applications, innovation programs, and demo days. Collaborating with esteemed global partners like Amazon Web Services, Hubspot and Zendesk, Vestbee brings startups the best deals, exclusive perks, and complimentary access to business tools that bolster their growth and development
SYNYO is a Vienna-based enterprise that develops novel methods, technologies and solutions for various domains and challenges. SYNYO analyses the impact of emerging technologies from an interdisciplinary perspective. The team at SYNYO has diverse expertise in fields like Social Sciences, ICT & Technology, Safety & Security,
Energy & Sustainability, Urban Future, Smart Health Digital Systems and Smart Technologies.
About DUBROVNIK CITY
The City of Dubrovnik, Croatia, serves its residents through various departments, focusing on population, social services, culture, sports, and infrastructure development. It actively supports tourism and promotes equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Additionally, it implements projects with European Union funds, especially in the areas of social welfare and heritage preservation.
About CONSELL MENORCA
The Council of Menorca is the self-governing institution of the island. It corresponds to the Council the government, administration and representation of the island and has a fundamental role in the coordination of the local’s administrations. It has competences in different matters, such as territorial planning, management and inspection of tourism sector, management of historical-artistic heritage, waste treatment, care and social assistance of disabled groups, child protection, along with other tasks.
About OPEN IMPACT
Open Impact is an innovative start-up and accredited spin-off of the University of Milano-Bicocca that provides services and develops digital products for the measurement, enhancement and management of impacts in a perspective of integrated sustainability. Open Impact (OI) was founded in 2019 thanks to the meeting of a mix of experiences and skills coming from the world of academic research, social innovation and digital development. By collecting and systematising a huge amount of internationally validated open-source impact assessments, Open Impact has managed to create the first database in Italy for impact benchmarking. The Open Impact Database is designed to support organisations in identifying the impact they generate, linking it to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other sustainability taxonomies, such as BES and ESG