In 2021, Europe witnessed the birth of 85 “Unicorns”, new tech companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more, despite this good growing, over the last decade, many European companies were forced to leave Europe, creating an exodus which resulted in a huge loss for Europe in terms of jobs, intellectual property and brain drain.
JRC 2022 report “In search of EU unicorns”, describes how the exodus is continuous, with companies such as Just Eat, Skype, Transferwise or UiPath (among other 40), born in EU but now creating thousands of jobs and billions of investment with relocated headquarters out of Europe.
Project Regions are experimenting this exodus of to-be-unicorn start-ups, and they need to offer differentiation measures to fight against big Unicorn Hubs in the EU capitals and US.
Partner Regions want to be different by creating several “Small Valleys” offering experiment fields, using the local community as a testing ground for to-be-unicorns. These small valleys will retain and attract soonicorns that want to grow under EU principles and values, like the respect of human rights, freedom, democracy, and equality. These values are the vital foundation to mark their Forests as different from other hubs, especially in the US and Far East, creating strategic differentiation for their regional Valleys/Forests.
Alentejo (PT), Haut de France, West Ireland, Liguria (IT) or North-West Romania, are some of the 9 regions working on UnicornQuest to design their Unicorn Forests, creating specific policies and tools which will attract soonicorns which want to work on the green and tech, but specially want to use humancentric and ethical standards as a way to create business.
Through the exchange of experiences between regions, partners will share regional experiences and use the Harvard CASE method to produce peer-exchange and facilitate the learning process between partners, expecting to improve 9 policy instruments in the initial 36 months of project.