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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched a call for applications for the sustainable development goals global startup competition.

Led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UN agency responsible for promoting sustainable, accessible and inclusive tourism, this Competition aims to encourage the global innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem to embrace sustainability and to deliver impact during the United Nations Decade of Action starting this year.

Bringing together stakeholders from a variety of sectors across the economy, this initiative sets out to reach a common goal, to set innovation at the forefront of sustainable development in corporations and destinations.


This competition poses the following objectives:

        Seek out the most innovative solutions to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals achievement regarding viability, scalability and impact.

        Gather and connect all actors of the global innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, namely UN Agencies; Member States and public organizations; startups; academia; corporations; incubators and accelerators; and investors and venture builders.

        Provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge, business models, successful business cases and general support among startups to foster disruption in their own strategy and in the economy as a whole.

        To position tourism as an integrating factor of all economic sectors around the Sustainable Development Goals.


        No Poverty

        No Hunger

        Good Health and Well being

        Quality Education

        Gender Equality

        Clean water and Sanitation

        Affordable and clean Energy

        Decent work and Economic Growth

        Industry, innovation and Infrastructure

        Reduced Inequalities

        Sustainable cities and communities

        Responsible consumption and Production

        Climate Action

        Life Below water

        Life on Land

        Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

        Partnerships for the goals


Benefits for winning startups include but are not limited to:

        Pitch at a UNWTO Demo Day

        Curated mentorship programme including one-on-one and in-group sessions focused on Intellectual Property (IP), sustainability, business and leadership

        Access to technological support

        Connection to the UNWTO Innovation Network

        Potential pilot project with private sector collaborators and institutions

Eligibility Criteria

Startups from all walks of life, from all over the world and all economic sectors are invited to participate if meeting the following criteria:

        Be innovative in nature providing value-added solutions

        Be sustainability-driven

        Be scalable: to have potential for international growth and potential to be applied in corporations and destinations (countries, regions)

        Be an Early Stage or Series A startup

        Have a tested pilot and business plan

        Have been accelerated before

        Have a full-time team

All ways of innovation are welcome: new methods, processes, governance models, social impact initiatives, and technologies.

Evaluation Criteria

Participating startups will be assessed according to their:

        Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals: coherence with the selected category / goal; demonstrated contribution to the acceleration of the goal; impact forecasts; adaptability of the projects to other Nations and territories; sustainability indicators.

        Ease of value capture via collaboration with the startup: viability of collaboration / agile implementation in the short-medium term for codevelopment of products/services, optimizing the use of existing resources/infrastructure and ability to scale the product.

        Potential business impact: potential scalability / financial return and / or development of competitive advantages for the business in the shortmedium term (e.g., access to new technologies, access to technical profiles, etc.)

        Maturity of the product/technology: degree of comparative disruptiveness / innovation in the sector (global level); degree of maturity of the MVP, technology or current product; scalability potential within the business (leveraging existing resources, infrastructure, geographies, etc.), potential value capture for the business.

        Maturity of the team and the organization: CV of the founders / team; Degree of maturity of the business (e.g., alliances / partners, initial investments, customers, initial sales, etc.); need for capital (e.g., funds to develop product, deadlines to finalize MVP etc.); entrepreneurial motivation and personal interests of the founders; Internal organization and processes (e.g., use of lean / scrum methodologies, use of outsourcing)

        Partnership readiness: experience in co-development of products (e.g., Collaboration with universities, companies, etc.); experience as a provider (e.g., sale of consulting services or part of development to a third company, experience in understanding third-party problems / defined by a third party); motivation / interest in collaborating with a corporation.

Deadline: 20-Sep-20 For more information, visit https://bit.ly/32Wy5Jq