EcoSME event in Portugal

On September 25, 2023, the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC), a member of the international consortium of the EcoSME project, held a roundtable discussion titled "Será a Sustentabilidade Sustentável nas PME de Alojamento e Restauração? Boas práticas e oportunidades - Is Sustainability Sustainable in SMEs in Accommodation and Restaurants? Best Practices and Opportunities" at the School of Hospitality and Tourism of IPPorto, starting at 3:00 PM.

The event was dedicated to reflecting upon and discussing the opportunities and challenges faced by small and micro-tourism businesses in implementing sustainable practices and adopting solutions in favour of sustainability and the circular economy. Its primary objective was to foster dialogue and the sharing of ideas among industry businesses, raise awareness about the advantages of integrating circularity for competitiveness and sustainability in operations and value chains, and promote the adoption of best practices in circular economy and sustainability.

Considering September 25 being declared National Sustainability Day in Portugal, EcoSME joined forces with another research project, the CeGAS project - Circular Economy for Sustainable Gastronomy, also in the sustainability domain. The aim was to disseminate best practices to entrepreneurs in the hospitality and restaurant sectors and throughout the food supply chain.

The session commenced with opening remarks from the coordinator of the CeGAS project, Dr. António Melo, and a representative from the EcoSME IPVC team, Dr. Carmen Lopez. The event was conducted in a round-table format and featured the participation of representatives from the hospitality and restaurant sectors who have excelled in sustainability. Through the testimonials of entrepreneurs and contributions from Tourism Porto and North (moderation), opportunities and support for businesses were also identified.

The moderation was undertaken by a representative from Tourism of Porto and North of Portugal, Paulo Carrança, who began by providing an overview of the state of sustainability in the tourism sector in Portugal and UE. He noted that there is a growing awareness of the importance of sustainability, but that there are still challenges to overcome. The panelists shared their experiences in implementing sustainable practices in their businesses. They discussed the challenges they faced and the benefits they have realized.

The event was attended by owners and/or managers of SMEs, industry associations, and academia (students, teachers and researchers).

Following the round-table discussion and debate, participants had the opportunity to network while enjoying local products.



The EcoSME IPVC team concluded that the best strategy for reaching out to a larger audience and including more participants within the target groups would be through a synergistic approach, attaching a Multiplier event to another program/event, captivating the interest of a broader group.

The CeGAS project is related to EcoSME's aims and objectives. Therefore, IPVC made the decision to implement the Multiplier event as a joint initiative.

The time of the event and the location were a good choice. This way, we were able to reach and involve a wider audience. It ended up being really successful and welcomed by the participants.

Initially, as two speakers (one had a last-minute commitment and couldn't make it) would be participating through the ZOOM platform, we announced that the event would be recorded and orally asked for permission. All participants gave consent. We have recorded the meeting for the documentation, but also the potential promotion of the project.

As a concluding remark, the event was successful and took place without any issues. Participants were very engaged throughout all parts of the event.

After the event, each participant received a thank you email and a certificate.