Berlin, 6 October 2023

Turning social challenges into entrepreneurial opportunities – TUI Futureshapers Programme empowers leaders in Portugal and Senegal

  • In Senegal 100 startups, small and medium-sized enterprises will be given opportunities for training, access to capital, market linkages and support in increasing their revenue
  • In Portugal teams of young entrepreneurs will receive training and mentoring to create eight social enterprises in tourism

The tourism environments of Senegal and Portugal are very different from each other – but there is one challenge that both countries share: Despite a strong tourism sector and immense natural and cultural heritage, entrepreneurs in Senegal and Portugal struggle with barriers to creating and growing their micro, small and medium businesses. These struggles include a lack of qualified staff as well as limited access to markets and financing. The TUI Futureshapers Programme wants to fuel an impact-minded entrepreneurship culture that innovatively tackles social and environmental problems and turns tourism into a key solution to local challenges.

Through the TUI Futureshapers project in Senegal, 90 MSMEs will receive access to an extensive digital support programme. The strategic consultancy will cover topics such as creating a unique selling proposition and learning about marketing, communication and customer retention. TUI Futureshapers Senegal, which is a programme run together with GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation, will also identify ten high potential start-ups to receive a strong venture building programme with a team of international experts and a dedicated local field team. Over seven months, they will receive specialised training and consultancy in order to transform them into market-ready enterprises. The programme will culminate with an investor trip, through which European investors will be able to discover the vibrant Senegalese tourism ecosystem – with the ultimate objective of investing in participants of the project.

In Portugal, the TUI Futureshapers programme aims to promote social innovation in tourism by providing a six-month development programme for eight projects and supporting them to become fully-fledged enterprises. These enterprises will contribute to a more dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem and will have a positive impact on responsible tourism in Portugal. The programme runs in partnership with local incubator IRIS and includes on-site residential programmes, study visits to local impact projects and various workshops on topics such as building a value proposition, financial planning, partnership management, impact measurement and digital marketing. As part of the programme, participants will also receive individual business mentoring sessions and online training content provided by experts from TUI Group. The participating teams will pitch their social business concepts to potential investors and partners at a final event in Lisbon in October.

Filipa Cabrita is a co-founder of one of these projects. Her social enterprise, KKIDS_CELL, plans to create workshop experiences where the local population of the picturesque town 

of Elvas can share their knowledge in local artisanship with tourists, for example working with clay or wool. She shares her thoughts on the first residential programme: "I am an architect by education and profession, so the creative side of being an entrepreneur has never been an issue. However, I was surprised at how much I learned with the workshop on financial planning, in particular developing a mathematical methodology to justify a product’s price, for example.”

TUI Futureshapers Portugal and Senegal are part of the international TUI Futureshapers programme that empowers people to turn social challenges into entrepreneurial opportunities in holiday destinations.

About TUI Care Foundation

Building on the potential of tourism as a force for good, the TUI Care Foundation supports and initiates partnerships and projects, which create new opportunities for the young generation and contribute to thriving communities all over the world. Connecting holidaymakers to good causes, the TUI Care Foundation fosters education and training initiatives to open up new opportunities and perspectives for young people, the protection of the natural environment in holiday destinations and sustainable livelihoods in thriving destinations where local communities can benefit even more from tourism. TUI Care Foundation works global and acts local – it builds on strong partnerships with local and international organisations to create meaningful and long lasting impact. The charitable foundation values transparency and the efficient use of funds. Therefore 100% of the donations go to destination programmes with all administration costs of the foundation covered by TUI. TUI Care Foundation was founded by TUI, the world’s leading tourism business, and is based in the Netherlands.

About GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation

GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation is a non-profit organization promoting the development of investment in African entrepreneurship with the goal of driving the creation of local economic and social added-value. This is done by promoting new narratives, enabling impactful investments and empowering business founders.

About IRIS

IRIS is an incubator that supports the creation and development of social innovation projects, which are new ideas to solve serious social and environmental problems. IRIS - Regional Incubator for Social Innovation was created in 2017, in the Tâmega e Sousa region, under a partnership for impact, promoted by the European Investment Bank Institute and PortusPark, with co-financing from Portugal Inovação Social. In 2020, to continue the work developed, the non-profit association IRISOCIAL Incubadora de Inovação Social was created. Currently, IRIS operates along two axes: incubation and education. In incubation, it supports impact projects and empowers them to have the necessary tools to achieve better results and social and environmental impact.