Apply Now: UN Tourism Women in Tech Startup Competition Middle East 2024

Innovative entrepreneurship has disrupted the tourism sector, changing the ways people travel and experience destinations, and in doing so driving digitalization and sustainability. At the same time, tourism offers many opportunities for prospective entrepreneurs in tourism-adjacent sectors to grow their businesses and capitalize on the demand for goods and services from incoming tourists. The synergies between tourism entrepreneurship and innovation are well-founded and can be meaningfully strengthened. A key enabler in this regard is fostering environments for investors to empower entrepreneurs to push the sector forward.

Why women in tech?

57% of science technology engineering and math (STEM) graduates in the Middle East are women. 34% of the region’s tech-focused startups were founded by women. However, globally, women founders secured only 2.2% of global venture capital funding in 2019.

Countries across the Middle East, have integrated innovation and women empowerment within their long-term economic development plans. This is the case of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, where increasing women’s participation in the labor force is a strategic target. (Saudi female participation has already risen from 16% to 35.6% between 2016 and 2021). In the GCC region, a robust entrepreneurial culture has fuelled a surge in start-up businesses led by women, averaging at 40.9% of the total, according to World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) 2022 Global Gender Gap report.

Women in Tech 2nd Edition Theme: Creating a Sustainable Tourism Sector

This year’s theme will be directly linked with the UN Tourism Investment Framework: Investing in PeoplePlanet and Prosperity.

Presented during World Tourism Day 2023, it reflects a growing consensus among sector stakeholders about the need to diversify away from the traditional investment framework to a new one where people (education), planet (green transformation), and prosperity (innovation) are at the center to guarantee the development of a sustainable tourism sector.

This framework is at the same time anchored on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), part of the Agenda 2030. As we have already passed the halfway point to 2030, every sector must increase efforts in the path towards sustainability. The tourism sector is not different – the tourism sector has to be at the forefront of this sustainable transformation due to its multiplier impact across all economic industries, and also by offering high-quality jobs, and supporting countries in bringing prosperity to rural areas and less favored communities.

Hence, the categories of the competition will be based on the mentioned key elements, which are economicsocial, and environmental factors.

Apply below:

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