The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST)
Initiative has launched two new accelerators designed to make it
easier and faster for tourism businesses to get established in
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
The MIST Startup Accelerator
will take entries from early stage companies with either travel
technology or traditional tourism business plans, while the MIST Market
Access Accelerator welcomes applications from mature international
tourism startups needing assistance entering the region.
accelerators will close to applications on 19 March 2017.
Applicants must demonstrate how they will create
jobs, generate positive community impact and contribute to
sustainable tourism growth in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or Vietnam.
“The MIST accelerator programs give a leg up to tourism
investments that create jobs, help local communities, and support entrepreneurship, especially for women,” explained Dominic Mellor,
senior Asian Development Bank economist and head of the Mekong
Founders accepted into the MIST
Startup Accelerator will attend mini bootcamps to further develop
their business plans. The top business plans for each country
market will win MIST Innovation Grants, with the best overall
receiving US$10,000 and the three runners-up receiving $7,000.
MIST Market Access Accelerator participants will join
familiarization tours of relevant Mekong Region markets. Through
these tours, they will receive coaching, custom market insights,
and introductions to supplier networks and relevant stakeholders.
Participants in both MIST accelerators will pitch their plans
to investors, global acceleration programs, and tourism leaders at
the Mekong Tourism Forum in June (Luang Prabang, Lao PDR) and APEC
Summit in November (Danang, Vietnam). In-country teams will
provide additional advisory services tailored to participants’
“The Great Mekong Subregion is among the
fastest growing tourism destinations on earth. Start-ups can
disrupt traditional practices to adapt to changing consumer
behaviors, but let’s also encourage responsible innovation that
enhances the region’s appeal for future generations,” said Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating
MIST is a joint venture of the Mekong Tourism
Coordinating Office and the Mekong Business Initiative. It
receives regional funding, advisory and technical support from the
Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of Australia, Amadeus
Next, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, and Village Capital. It
has been endorsed by young entrepreneurs associations and startup
groups in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
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