Booking.com announced the 10 sustainable tourism startups receiving scaling grants as part of its 2018 Booking Booster accelerator program.
After three weeks of workshops and intensive coaching sessions led entirely by Booking.com employees and experts, the program culminated in a final pitch to receive grants of up to €500k from Booking.com's €2 million fund in order to help support the next stage of the startups' projected growth.
The 10 teams of finalists pitched their scaling plans to a live audience and panel of expert judges in Amsterdam, with Indian startups Sakha Consulting Wings: Women on Wheels and Global Himalayan Expedition being awarded this year's highest grants of €325k and €400k respectively. Sakha Consulting is a unique social enterprise, launched to offer safe transport solutions for women by women in selected cities in India, providing livelihoods with dignity through professional driving opportunities to resource-poor women as part of the 'Women on Wheels' (WOW) initiative. Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) organizes impact expeditions to provide clean energy and digital education access to the remote mountain communities of the Himalayas, helping to put them on the map for future travelers to explore.
"The vision and passion that we've seen from all the startups this year has been truly inspiring," said Gillian Tans, President and CEO of Booking.com. "I was especially impressed with Wheel the World's moving mission to empower people with disabilities to explore the world within the adventure travel sector, Sakha's commitment to empowering women in India to take control of their livelihoods and of course with how GHE is literally bringing light to remote mountain villages through their Himalayan expeditions. We're all looking forward to seeing how their plans unfold over the coming weeks and months as we work together to bring their vision for a more sustainable travel industry to even more destinations worldwide."
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