By The Nation
Building upon its successful launch in 2017, the three-week accelerator programme consists of a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching, culminating in a final pitch to receive a scaling grant of up to 500,000 Euros (Bt19.46 million) from Booking.com’s 2-million Euro fund in order to help support the next stage of the start-ups’ projected growth.
“The relationships we build with these passionate entrepreneurs not only help fuel their continued growth, but also invigorate and inspire our entire company. Our aim is to build a network of like-minded organisations and individuals that are leveraging technology to create a more sustainable future for destinations worldwide. Through our collective commitment, we are striving to ensure that we can keep the unique destinations we all love happy and healthy for generations to come,” says Gillian Tans, Booking.com’s chief executive.
With hundreds of applicants from all over the world, the 10 start-ups joining the 2018 programme hail from six different countries and operate collectively across six continents, including Antarctica. Their businesses also represent a diverse mix of innovative online marketplaces that connect travellers with inclusive travel experiences, cutting-edge technology solutions and initiatives that empower local communities to benefit more equally from the global tourism opportunity.
Thailand’s HiveSters is a social enterprise that acts as a hub for sustainable, real Thai experiences, connecting travellers who look for authentic cultural interactions with local experts in Thailand’s largest urban areas.
“We feel empowered that our mission was supported and we believe that Booking.com Booster will open the door to unimaginable opportunities!, says Achiraya Thamparipattra, chief executive & chief of fun.
Other participating start-ups are:
Community Homestay Network (Nepal)
Global Himalayan Expedition (India)
Hotel Con Corazon (Netherlands: Operating in Nicaragua)
Keteka (United States: Operating in Central and South America, Antarctica)
Sakha Consulting Wings: Women on Wheels (India)
Tastemakers (United States: Operating in Africa)
Wheel the World (United States)
All the participating social enterprises will also receive several months of ongoing mentoring and coaching from Booking.com experts, as well as opportunities and access to collaborate with Booking.com on potential innovation initiatives and experiments to help accelerate their future growth.
Together with the recently launched Booster Labs and the Booking Cares Fund, the Booking Booster Programme sits alongside Booking.com’s internal volunteer programme, where employees have long partnered with local organisations on projects that help improve destinations worldwide. Together these initiatives make up and further expand Booking.com’s Booking Cares commitment and further the company’s mission to make a positive impact globally.