The ten finalists for the 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism were chosen in June by 13 industry experts. They hail from ten different countries on six continents with initiatives being 70% female-led.

The Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism is the first and only worldwide competition focusing on social innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism and hospitality. The competition aims to empower social entrepreneurs and communities in travel destinations, accelerate their growth, networks, and provide them with access to the market.

Founded in 2019 by Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE), ITB Berlin, Berlin Travel Festival and Travel Massive, upon the initiative of Professor Dr. Claudia Brözel, the 2021 edition is powered by the TUI Care Foundation and supported by the UNWTO.

“Congratulations to the ten founders and founding teams whose initiatives were chosen by the jury for the final of the 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism! We received so many fantastic applications and the jury had the tough job to choose this year’s top initiatives. It is fantastic to see such great diversity in our finalists, both in terms of the project types and countries, and I am particularly proud that 8 of the ten initiatives are women-led,” said Prof. Dr. Claudia Brözel, the competition’s founder.

The finalists will receive a 10-week mentoring and coaching program provided by SINA (Social Innovation Academy) based in Uganda. SINA will provide both one-to-one and peer-to-peer support, which will focus on the individual needs of each finalist and also include pitch training, human-centred design, social business modelling and impact measurement.

Social Entrepreneurship Competition
Social Entrepreneurship Competition – timeline

The competition will culminate in an online pitch and award ceremony to be held on 13 September, during which a high calibre jury will choose this year’s winners and runner ups. Monetary and in-kind prizes will be awarded to the winners in both categories.

60% more applications in 2021

All approved entries were evaluated by the jury according to criteria in five categories – Social & Environmental Impact, Feasibility, Tourism as a tool for development, Creativity & Innovation and a video pitch.

In total, 132 applications were received from 52 different countries – 63 in the Launch Track, for not yet implemented ideas, and 69 in the Growth Track, which was created to grow existing initiatives. Applicants hailed mainly from Europe (31%) and Africa (24 percent), followed by North and South America (15% each).

The list of project countries was topped by African nations (29%) and European destinations (23%). Compared with the 2020 competition, applications grew by almost 60% year-over-year.

The structure of the competition follows the spirit of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and seeks to support the achievement of Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. This year, founders are primarily targeting Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).

The 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism finalists are as follows:

Launch Track

Project NameDescriptionGenderProject Country
buttmilesWith buttmiles, travelers are motivated to collect cigarette butts to get discounts or free access to a range of tourist attractions and services.FemaleSpain
Ecopreneur EvolutionEcopreneur Evolution creates opportunities for future entrepreneurs by providing the know-how and resources for them to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Ecopreneurevolution.comFemaleCosta Rica
Khusvegi English and Cultural CampThe project serves Kazakh nomadic families Western Mongolia while providing a transformational travel experience for tourists.FemaleMongolia
Rai Kuen Rang’s FarmstayTheir mission is to enhance and preserve community culture through community-based tourism by using slow tourism as a tool.DiverseThailand
socialbnbSocialbnb is an online platform that connects travelers with social and ecological organizations, which list their unused accommodations to gain financial independence from donations. socialbnb.orgMaleGermany

Growth Track

Project NameDescriptionGenderProject Country
Black Tourism Talent DirectoryThe Directory is designed to create broader diversity, equity and inclusion in the tourism industry by connecting tourism players directly with qualified black tourism talents.  FemaleUnited States
GetAboutAbleThis social enterprise focuses on improving travel and leisure options for people with disabilities. Getaboutable.comFemaleAustralia
Khwela WomxnKhwela Womxn is an organization which uplifts young womxn in the tourism industry by providing various tools and resources for personal growth. Africa
Local PurseLocal Purse is a web-based platform that supports cultural artisans and local guides using live video shopping experiences to virtually host travelers around the world. Localpurse.comFemaleSweden
Triple F Photo ToursThe mission of Triple F Tours is to change the lives of females in the developing world through the art of photography. triplefphototours.caFemaleUganda

Further information can also be found online:

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