Two Australian start-ups announced in the 2019 Booking Booster Accelerator Program
Clean Travel and Okra Solar have been shortlisted to pitch for grants up to €500k from Booking.com’s €2 million Booster fund for innovation in sustainable tourism
Today Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel platforms, announced the 10 sustainable tourism startups joining the 2019 Booking Booster Program in Amsterdam in April and May 2019.
The short-listed start-ups will take part in a three-week accelerator program consisting of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching. All culminating a final pitch to receive a scaling grant of up to €500k from Booking.com’s €2 million fund in order to help support the next stage of the startups’ projected growth.
Founded by Macartan Gaughan, Clean Travel is an innovative software platform that helps local ethical travel operators manage their business and reach a global audience. It connects communities with local travel organisations that offer unique ethical adventures.
Okra Solar, founded by Afnan Hannan and Damian Veling, Okra is distributed solar energy sharing. The innovative technology aims to transform the energy market and offers affordable energy access for 1.2 billion people living off-grid.
Afnan Hannan, Okra Solar Co-Founder said: “We are excited to have support from the Booking Booster program as it enables us to solidify the link between energy access and income generating activities. Building on initial energy access, we foresee eco-tourism playing a big role in kickstarting these emerging economies.”
With hundreds of applicants from all over the world, the 10 startups joining the 2019 program hail from nine countries and operate collectively across almost the entire globe. Their businesses also represent a mix of models and solutions, including products that leverage technology to facilitate environmental and wildlife conservation, as well as platforms that empower at-risk communities to thrive through their inclusive approach to tourism.
The remaining list of startups include:
- Avy, Netherlands
Avy is a drones-for-good company, building long-range wing drones to deliver medicines, protect wildlife, and conserve nature.
- Hydrao, France
Hydrao provides smart demand-management solutions for water conservation and management.
- I Like Local, Netherlands
I Like Local is an impact travel marketplace that connects travelers with local people in developing countries in order to provide authentic experiences to travelers and an extra source of income for local hosts.
- IMPULSE Travel, Colombia
Impulse is a regenerative tourism platform for in-destination experiences, offering more than 200 tours and activities in seven locations in Colombia.
- NotOnMap, India
NotOnMap empowers communities and creates a livelihood for marginalized, vulnerable people in rural areas through the preservation of culture and heritage, connecting travelers with unique, differentiated experiences.
- The Picha Project, Malaysia
The Picha Project promotes cultural heritage by empowering refugees to share authentic traditional food from their homeland with the public.
SASANE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel provides socially responsible tourism by training local women that are survivors of human trafficking as trekking and tour guides to lead tours through rural mountain villages in Nepal.
- Sumba Hospitality Foundation, Indonesia
Sumba Hospitality Foundation promotes responsible tourism, combining a hotel school for underprivileged youth with a luxury eco-resort for travelers wanting to contribute to a better world.
All the participating startups will receive a year of ongoing mentoring and coaching from Booking.com experts. They will also have opportunities and access to collaborate with Booking.com on potential innovation initiatives and experiments to help accelerate future growth for the participating scale-ups, including projects undertaken together with the Booking Cares Volunteer Program.
“We’re seeing the calibre of innovative entrepreneurship in the sustainable tourism sector continue to evolve and mature,” said Gillian Tans, President and CEO of Booking.com. “The diversity of perspectives that are represented with this year’s Booster finalists and the creative ways they are leveraging technology to grow and maximise their impact is truly inspiring.”