Solar grid technology startup Okra Solar and regenerative tourism platform Impulse Travel have each been awarded €400k scaling grants following the 2019 Booking Booster Accelerator Programme in Amsterdam.
The grants will support Australia-based Okra Solar’s ambitions to transform the energy market and provide affordable access to the more than 1 billion people currently living off-grid - creating new opportunities to share their unique cultures with global travellers, while Impulse Travel will be dedicated to offering more than 200 in-destination experiences in seven locations in Colombia, empowering local communities to take charge of the narrative around the country’s future and spread a message of peace.
A further eight sustainable tourism startups were also granted funds: NotOnMap (India) receiving €250k; Avy (Netherlands) receiving €200k; SASANE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel (Nepal) receiving €175k; Picha Eats (Malaysia) receiving €175k; Clean Travel (Australia) receiving €100k; Hydrao (France) receiving €100k; I Like Local (Netherlands) receiving €100k and Sumba Hospitality Foundation (Indonesia) receiving €100k.
The grants were awarded following a three-week accelerator programme, during which experts from Booking.com led the participants through a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching sessions. The programme culminated in a final pitch round, in front of a live audience and a panel of judges including 2019 Booking Booster Ambassador, Founder & Creative Director of Eco-Age, Livia Firth.
“We have long believed that technology is a powerful instrument for good, including when it comes to sustainable travel,” says Gillian Tans, President and CEO of Booking.com. “I’m so proud of each and every one of these passionate changemakers and am looking forward to following their progress and supporting them as they seek to transform their visions into reality, helping to keep the destinations that we all love happy and healthy for decades to come.”
- The third annual Booking Booster Accelerator Programme saw 10 sustainable travel startups receive three weeks of lectures, workshops and coaching before pitching to a panel of expert judges in Amsterdam
- Okra Solar from Australia and Impulse Travel from Colombia received the highest scaling grants of €400k each, with eight other startups also receiving funds to support the next stage of their projected growth
- The Booking Booster Program sits alongside the Booking Cares Fund and Booking Cares Labs, as well as Booking.com’s internal volunteer programme