Les Roches supports incubation of startups rewarded by World Tourism Organization

Les Roches supports incubation of startups rewarded by World Tourism Organization

Les Roches in Crans-Montana and Spark, its innovation centre dedicated to the hospitality industry, have hosted presentations to investors of the winning startups in the Awake Tourism Challenge, an international competition organised by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations’ specialised agency.

The pitch day took place on 25th May in the presence of UNWTO’s Investment Director and was attended by around 100 participants including stakeholders in private equity, international investment funds, consulting firms, Spark’s technology partners, as well as several representatives of the Swiss authorities. It was the culmination of the second edition of the incubation program with Spark for the winning startups of the Awake Tourism Challenge, as part of a collaboration agreement signed last year between Les Roches and UNWTO.

From 3rd-30th May, the Les Roches campus in Switzerland welcomed 10 of the 15 winning projects of the young entrepreneurs taking part in the global challenge, chosen among 2,000 applications from more than 120 countries around the world in six thematic categories: Green and Blue Economies; Local Community Involvement; Tourism Education; Ecological and Sustainable Capital Creation; Women Empowerment; and Tourism Tech for Good.

Among the winning projects are Noytrall (Portugal), an interface for tracking travellers’ carbon footprints and related expenses; the NomadHer project (South Korea), an AI application for women travelling alone aimed at making individual travel safer; Accessible Qatar (Qatar), a collaborative platform that provides people with disabilities all the information needed to travel around the country; and Quantum Temple (USA), a Web 3.0 platform that aims to preserve living cultures through local partnerships by creating NFTs, which in return can offer immersive experiences in the tribes or sale of native art artworks.

“This is all about bringing innovative ideas to life and transforming a vision into a successful project,” said Pablo Garcia, Director of Spark in Crans-Montana. “The young entrepreneurs learn from experts and receive feedback on their project, and the incubation program mobilises all of Spark’s existing ecosystem, including consulting firm Deloitte for example, as well as Les Roches’ academic and business experts. Some of the masterclasses and workshops include topics such as technology, fundraising, marketing development and pricing strategy, legal aspects, financial strategy and performance measurement.”

Carlos Díez de la Lastra, CEO of Les Roches, added: “I wish all the very best for these youthful entrepreneurs’ projects. The history of our institution is based on entrepreneurship and innovation. Personal qualities expected of all future leaders, who also require in-depth knowledge and methods that have always been core to our teaching programs.”

For more information, visit https://www.unwto.org/unwto-awake-tourism-challenge.