Applications Invited for UNWTO Sustainable Development Goals Global Startup Competition 2020

Apply By: 20 Sep 2020

About the Organization:

As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, World Tourism Organization (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 worldwide.  UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism’s socio-economic contribution while minimizing its possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development worldwide.

UNWTO Sustainable Development Goals Global Startup Competition 2020

Dive into the world’s largest call to reach the most disruptive startups that directly contribute to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UN agency responsible for promoting sustainable, accessible and inclusive tourism, this Competition aims to encourage the global innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem to embrace sustainability and to deliver impact during the United Nations Decade of Action starting this year.

Bringing together stakeholders from a variety of sectors across the economy, this initiative sets out to reach a common goal, to set innovation at the forefront of sustainable development in corporations and destinations.

Target Startups:

This competition is aimed at/is open to all entrepreneurs from UN Member States, whether individuals or legal entities, of legal age and with the legal capacity to enter into a contract. The projects can be focused on any methods, processes, governance structures, social impact initiatives, technological applications, among other ways of innovation.

Startups from all walks of life, from all over the world and all economic sectors are invited to participate if meeting the following criteria:

  • Be innovative in nature providing value-added solutions
  • Be sustainability-driven
  • Be scalable: to have potential for international growth and potential to be applied in corporations and destinations (countries, regions)
  • Be an Early Stage or Series A startup
  • Have a tested pilot and business plan
  • Have been accelerated before
  • Have a full-time team
  • All ways of innovation are welcome: new methods, processes, governance models, social impact initiatives, and technologies.


This competition features 17 categories following the number of Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard, entrepreneurs may define which goal fits more to their solution.

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Reduces inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Life on land
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Partnerships for the goals

Evaluation Criteria:
Participating startups will be assessed according to their:

  • Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Ease of value capture via collaboration with the startup
  • Potential business impact
  • Maturity of the product/technology
  • Maturity of the team and the organization
  • Partnership readiness
  • Benefits:

Benefits for winning startups include but are not limited to:

  • Pitch at a UNWTO Demo Day
  • Curated mentorship programme including one-on-one and in-group sessions focused on Intellectual Property (IP), sustainability, business and leadership
  • Access to technological support
  • Connection to the UNWTO Innovation Network
  • Potential pilot project with private sector collaborators and institutions


  • Deadline: 20 September, 2020
  • Announcement of winning startups: November 2020
  • Pitching round for winners: November 2020
  • For more information please check the LINK

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