- Egypt’s startup ecosystem receives support to empower founders in the travel and tourism sector
- Selected startups gain access to office space, support services, mentoring and a wide network of experts and investors
- Special attention is paid to business models which drive social impact and sustainability
The TUI Care Foundation and enpact today announced the launch of the Travel Tech 4 Good Accelerator in Cairo, Egypt. The partnership fosters entrepreneurship and empowers young founders with access to support services and expertise, in order to boost their startups in the field of travel and tourism with a focus on social impact and sustainability.
According to enpact’s Startup Friendliness Index, Cairo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is facing many challenges, including a lack of accessible expertise, finance and support services that help founders take their business ideas to the next level. Tourism growth is evident with figures showing that nearly 9 million tourists visited Egypt in 2018, up from 5.4 million in 2016. Whilst emergent technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality open up new market opportunities in the sector, the accelerator programme will pay special attention to business models, which develop inclusive tourism in Egypt by creating shared value for local communities.
“Tourism in Egypt is well positioned to boost the country’s economic development in the future. Together with enpact, we want to support entrepreneurs and change-makers to follow their visions and shape the industry of tomorrow. We want the travel and tourism sector to be sustainable and inclusive, so that it benefits vulnerable parts of the population”, says Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of TUI Care Foundation.
“Being embedded in Cairo’s startup scene since 2013, we were part of its inception and experienced the power entrepreneurship can unfold within a young, talented, and change-driven population. Nonetheless, the startup ecosystem still faces challenges such as access to knowledge, financing opportunities, and experienced mentors. We’re tackling these aspects together with TUI Care Foundation by implementing the Travel Tech Accelerator programme”, says Jan Lachenmayer, Managing Director at enpact.
The acceleration programme will provide up to six selected startups and their team of founders with professional training, office space, mentoring, and financial services to grow their businesses. Knowledgeable national and international mentors deliver training and strengthen the network of the startups among other entrepreneurs, investors, and business partners. The acceleration programme takes place in enpact’s workplace hub, “Startup Haus”, in Cairo from September to end of November 2019 and will accumulate in a demonstration day and competition early December this year. The winner will receive a financial reward and access to a wider network of international investors and potential clients. The call for participation will open in July.
Thomas Ellerbeck adds: “Part of the journey is to support entrepreneurs who empower the livelihoods of the local population through technology, linking holidaymakers to products and services in rural areas, for example.”
TUI Care Foundation has been present in Egypt before as part of GIZ’s “lab of tomorrow”, which, amongst others, develops innovative ideas to facilitate job creation in the tourism sector for Egypt’s youth. TUI Care Foundation is not new to North Africa, since 2017, the Foundation has supported “Pikala Bikes” in Marrakesh, Morocco, a social enterprise which offers bicycle tours to tourists and trains local youth to become managers, mechanics and tour guides. In 2019, the Foundation is deepening its engagement in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.
In North Africa, enpact is a familiar player, where the organisation started its operations in Egypt in 2013. Since then, it has grown steadily and now offers a variety of services to fit the needs of the local community, ranging from startup support at different stages of their development, to ecosystem assessments, policy advice and capacity building for support organisations and mentors. Alongside the Startup Haus in Cairo, enpact’s local team has been very active in hosting various events and workshops of different sizes and topics. As well as expanding their knowledge and networks, the Egyptian entrepreneurs can rent office space, access advice and receive professional advice ranging from early-stage business support to specific challenges that they face at various stages.
After the launch of the accelerator programme in Cairo, Egypt, the initiative expands to another African tourism destination in early 2020.