UNWTO has launched a new startup competition to support women entrepreneurs and innovators in tourism in the Middle East.
Announced at Biban 2023, Saudi Arabia’s largest SME conference, the Women in Tech Startups: Middle East Competition will help further UNWTO’s work to transform tourism into a foundation for women’s empowerment. The initiative gives innovators the opportunity to compete for increased capacity and visibility. Finalists in each category will join the UNWTO Innovation Network, giving them access to the UNWTO Member States network, mentoring programs and UNWTO scholarship opportunities.
UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “Tourism startups have the power and agility to transform the sector in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Tourism startups are also leading the way in empowering women in the Middle East and around the world, and UNWTA is excited to support the region’s best innovators and digital entrepreneurs.”
Who can apply?
Startups must be led, owned or managed by women residing in any of the following countries: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.
Idea stage, early stage, or Series A startups with a minimum viable product or idea ready for development and funding.
Have a full-time team, a proven pilot and a business plan.
Be scalable with international growth potential.
Startups must also belong to at least one of the following categories:
Social Impact: For startups focusing on technology in wellness, healthcare, urban development, rural areas, sustainability and education with cross-sectoral tourism benefits.
Tourism and Travel Experience: Startups specializing in food and beverage, transportation and accommodation, travel and retail are eligible to participate.
Future Technology: Startups using fintech, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, cryptocurrency, Internet of Things, blockchain technology, digital fraternity and meta-universe.
Events and Community: Startups focused on social and messaging platforms, eSports and gaming platforms, community-based apps, event-related platforms, and educational technology.
Applications close at the end of July 2023 and the winners will be announced at the Tourism Technology Adventure (TTA) on World Tourism Day (September 27, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia).
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