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Global tourism accelerator program run by Slingshot in Queensland back for second year running

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Ben Hutt

Horizons, a tourism industry accelerator run by Slingshot and backed by the Queensland Government’s $650 million Advance Queensland initiative, has officially launched for the second year running.

The accelerator aims to develop Queensland into the world’s global hub for innovation in travel and tourism by facilitating the development of compelling business models and by helping local and regional Startups secure the traction, viability, investment and partnership opportunities needed to succeed.

The Horizons accelerator is a 12-week program commencing on the 24th of September 2018 and will have two cohorts running simultaneously. One in Brisbane and one in the resort city of Cairns to better serve regional entrepreneurs.

What do startups stand to gain from Horizons?

Startups accepted into Horizons will receive bespoke training and resources, a support team of mentors, access to co-working space and $30,000 of initial seed investment with the potential for a further $100,000 of follow-on funding.

The 12-week program will be led by Slingshot Chief Program Director Ben Hutt, a renowned entrepreneur with over a decade of experience working with high-growth technology-based companies. The program has been sponsored again this year by leading travel technology company Amadeus, as part of the company’s travel Startup program, Amadeus Next.

Last year, Cairns Startup Reef Restoration Foundation, who manage innovative coral nurseries, participated in the Horizons accelerator and went on to receive substantial commercial investment. Without programs like the Horizons accelerator, Startups are often confined to localised investment and support.

Ben Hutt, Chief Program Director, said every industry faces disruption and the tourism industry is no exception.

“We’ve already seen the impact Startups like Reef Restoration work to preserve the future of the Great Barrier Reef and therefore visitors to this site. We are looking to invest in up and coming Startups and scaling businesses that can move the needle.”

“With the tourism industry employing nearly 10 per cent of people in Queensland, there is a huge opportunity to cross pollinate a range of products and services, like accommodation, leisure, retail, recreation services, transport and hospitality, with cutting edge technological developments like AI, big data, AR / VR and frictionless payments, to drive commercial outcomes.”

Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones said Slingshot’s Horizons accelerator program gives startups mentoring and support to translate their ideas into new tourism products and services.

“The Palaszczuk Government through Advance Queensland is committed to supporting startups to develop innovative new services to help drive the state’s economy.

“Regional startups such as the Reef Restoration Foundation are already harnessing innovation and creating jobs for Queensland’s future.

The Horizons Accelerator Program opens on 16 July. A Live Facebook Chat with the Horizons program team will be available for Startups to stream.

More information can be found here.

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