Exciting news has sprung up on Geeks in Cambodia’s doorstep – and it has a whole lot to do with tourism, an accelerator programme, and an innovation grant.
But you probably already knew that from the blatant title, so yes, the results for the Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) accelerator finals are out!
And most exciting of all – CamboTicket, Cambodia’s own rapidly developing platform that aggregates bus, ferry and private taxi bookings from over 40 operators around the Kingdom and Laos, were runner up winners of this tourism accelerator!
Along with Chameleon City, a Vietnamese on-demand chat-based service providing travel and lifestyle answers from local experts, CamboTicket received a Mekong Business Initiative Tourism Innovation Grant of USD $7,000.
CamboTicket presented the MBI Innovation Grant during the Mekong Tourism Forum Gala Dinner
“The Investor Showcase Event at Mekong Tourism Forum was very interesting. There were many start-ups with very promising business models for the tourism sector in Mekong region. Camboticket, along with 23 other finalists, pitched in front of a jury of industry veterans and investors. The fact that jury selected us for the award and the grant out of so many high potential start-ups is very motivating and re-confirms our belief that Camboticket is solving a very big issue and is playing an important role in transformation of transport services in the region.
The whole journey with MIST has been very fruitful as it allowed us to meet and network with startups, established companies and individuals who are very active in the tourism sector in this region and many of them we can collaborate and partner with to further expand and strengthen Camboticket,” expressed Shivam Tripathi, the co-founder of CamboTicket.
This grant marks the second funding that CamboTicket has received this month, with their first being an investment from OBOR capital, which will definitely help to further their plans for expansion and developments.
The awardees received enthusiastic applause from government officials, destination marketers and tourism industry leaders gathered in Luang Prabang for the Mekong Tourism Forum Gala Dinner.
Aside from CamboTicket and Chameleon City, other awardees include GoP, an online tour platform from Myanmar that amasses providers and options into one place, offering high-quality service and reliable bookings, the grand winner of MIST.
Nguyen Thi Huong Lien and Nguyen Thi Thu from I Love Asia Tour and Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh from Morning Rooms were also recognized with WISE Women’s Leadership Awards and will enjoy mentorship through Vietnam’s Women’s Initiatve for Startups and Entrepreneurship (WISE).
“MIST is globally unique in how it integrates the Greater Mekong Subregion’s travel startups into an ecosystem for sustainable tourism development. The entrepreneurs I have met through MIST have convinced me that tourism in our region has a very bright future,” said Jens Thraenhart, executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and organizer of the Mekong Tourism Forum.
That is certainly true. Kick started in December 2016, this startup accelerator targets early-stage startups from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam but also includes a Market Access Program for mature startups based anywhere around the globe that want MIST’s assistance localizing proven tourism products and solutions into the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Dominic Mellor, senior ADB economist and head of the MBI, said, “Tourism is one vertical – along with agribusiness, financial, environmental, and smart city technology solutions – where the Mekong Business Initiative believes that entrepreneurs can have an outsized impact on the region’s economies. We believe that MIST has found some of the best and brightest tourism industry entrepreneurs, and we hope that the grant money they have received, the networks they have built, and the knowledge they have received through MIST will accelerate not only their own businesses but the Greater Mekong Subregion’s economies as well.”
Geeks in Cambodia couldn’t agree more, and are beyond excited that MIST’s organizers are committed to continuing the program in 2018 and even longer. In 2018, their focus would be on establishing partnerships with other incubation and acceleration programs, involving investors in designing the next iteration of the program, welcoming new private sector partners and sponsors, and continuing to identify the region’s top travel startups.
Interested in reaching out to the organisers? Then you can do so by visiting: http://mist.asia/contact/.
We would like to congratulate all winners of this innovation grant, and urge budding tourism startups to look towards participating in this accelerator that presents such wonderful opportunities next year! Of course, we look forward to what MIST would bring to us in the years to come, but until then, stay peeled to Geeks in Cambodia for more exciting news in our Kingdom’s ever developing startup scene!