Deadline for application is Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Early Stage or Series A? Apply for UNWTO Global Gastronomy Startup Competition 2019

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is inviting ventures at Early and Series A stages to apply for the maiden edition of its Global Gastronomy Startup Competition 2019 in collaboration with the Basque culinary centre (BCC).

Launched on Wednesday,17 October 2018, the competition is a global initiative that hopes to identify startups with the greatest potentials to outline the future and promote sustainable innovation in the tourism and gastronomy sector.

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

As the leading international organisation in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies everywhere in the world.


  • 20 Startups will be shortlisted by a panel of international experts and stakeholders from the gastronomy tourism sector (public and private sector, academia, and civil society)
  • The 5 finalist startups will have a sponsored trip to pitch their idea to a panel of experts, governments, industry leaders and international investors who will attend the 5th edition of the World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism be held in Spain on May 2019.
  • The winning company will have the opportunity to design a pilot project with the Basque Culinary Centre and implement it with the help of its network.

Global gastronomy Startup Competition is targeting startups that are:

  • In the Early Stage or Series A Stage
  • Both for-profit and non-profit
  • Natural or legal persons
  • Startups with a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Startups with potential for scalability
  • Startups with a sustainable vision

The projects must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations and the introduction or adaptation of digital and technological elements and focused on one (or several) of the following areas:

  • Destination management or private management of solutions/products/services developed around gastronomy as gastronomic tourism products
  • Supply-side configuration seeking the balance between sustainable development and the profitability of the project, maximising the positive impacts on the community
  • Connection with the market and the user experience in all phases of the trip
  • The integration of sustainability in the project´s business plan, specifically the conservation of local ingredients and the relationship between culture, heritage, gastronomy, tourism, and economic growth
Project evaluation

The projects will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Innovation and disruptiveness:

Entries are for startups with a project/product/service proposal that will disrupt the sector by introducing new concepts not yet identified in the gastronomic tourism industry

  • Potential impact and scalability:

Startups with a sound business model that has the potential for scalability in another environment/market/region making it feasible to increase and grow its social, technological and economic impact.

  • Initially validated or tested business model:

The competition needs startups in growth or seed stages that have tested their idea and have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) tested in a real market

  • A suitable and committed team:

UNWTO seeks for startups that have an entrepreneurial team suited to the needs and characteristics of the project, with high motivation, interest, and commitment to its development

  • Partnership Readiness:

Do you have experience in co-development of products/services and interest in accessing collaborations with partners in the sector?

  • Sustainability in the value proposition:

Entries are opened for startups that integrate sustainability into the business model of the project, taking special care of the relationship between culture, heritage, gastronomy, tourism, and economic growth

  • Technological or digital component:

Startup in which a technological or digital component is embedded in the business model.

How to Apply

If you are qualified for the above criteria, apply to participate in UNWTO’s  Global Gastronomy Startup Competition by visiting the website to fill in a form. Deadline for application is Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Source: SMEPeaks


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