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Social innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism: Unique Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism honours 2021 winners

The Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism is the world’s first and only competition dedicated to social innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism. As in previous years and together with leading partners, ITB Berlin 2021 sponsored and accompanied the international event again. Three years ago it was launched by Prof. Dr. Claudia Brözel, professor at Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (HNEE). This year, besides HNEE and Travel Massive, the TUI Care Foundation, UNWTO and Social Innovation Academy (SINA) from Uganda were also involved. Their aim is to strengthen socially oriented entrepreneurship, boost its growth and provide access to markets – guided by the UN’s 17 goals of sustainable development.

From the finalists, the judges picked four winners in the categories Launch Track and Growth Track.

The Khusvegi English & Nomadic Culture Camp from Mongolia took first place in the Launch Track category, which is for new projects awaiting launch. The project will enable interested travellers to meet Kazak nomads and spend time in a traditional family, and also get a glimpse of their culture and customs. In reply, the visitors can give their hosts English lessons. Second place in this category went to Ecopreneur Evolution from Venezuela. Together with local and international partners, their idea is to make new products from collecting plastic waste.

The Growth Track category featured existing projects aiming to expand. In it, the socially oriented enterprise Khwela Womxn from South Africa took first place. For both the judges and audience, who were also able to vote, this initiative was their first choice. Khwela Womxn helps young women in the South African tourism industry by offering them a range of support and resources to further their personal development, enabling them to obtain their own income. Second place in this category went to the Getaboutable project from Australia. Spurred on by the suffering they have experienced themselves, its founders aim to support a barrier-free environment and further the inclusion of disabled people in the tourism industry.

The winners received monetary and non-monetary prizes sponsored by the partner organisations. Based on the judges’ scores, all ten finalists will receive a ten-week mentoring and coaching programme organised by the Social Innovation Academy (SINA), where in individual and group sessions the entrepreneurs can further their knowledge and expertise in pitching, human-centred design, business modelling and impact measurement. They will also get an opportunity to exchange views with industry experts and thus attract international attention.

ITB Berlin has long been committed to social responsibility and sustainability. Thus, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show is a long-standing supporter of the many aspects of socially responsible tourism, including environmental protection, campaigning for the rights of women, children and the LGBT+ community. More information on ITB Berlin’s CSR activities can be found here: https://www.itb-berlin.com/de/corporate-social-responsibility/ .

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