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MIST program extends application deadline

Released at: 20:02, 05/03/2018

MIST program extends application deadline

Photo: Khanh Chi (VET)

Deadline for Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) Startup Accelerator applications extended to March 24 from March 10.

by Hong Nhung

Destination Mekong and the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) have announced that applications to the Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) Startup Accelerator will be extended for Vietnamese startups to March 24 from the original March 10. Startups hoping to take advantage of the deadline extension must still, however, email mist@mekongbiz.org by March 10 to announce their intention to apply.

The Startup Accelerator provides support to early-stage companies with innovative and scalable business models. The 15 to 20 startups selected to the Accelerator will attend an all-expenses- paid intensive boot camp where they will compete for six months of advanced mentorship, in-kind acceleration support valued at $20,000, prize money up to $10,000, and customized business matching with potential investors and partners.

“The Greater Mekong Sub-region’s government, tourism, and hospitality leaders have embraced MIST as a force for innovation, sustainability, and growth in the region,” said Ms. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. “Through this program, we have created the ideal mechanism for tourism innovators and travel startups to get paired with investors and industry mentors who can equip them to scale and thrive.”

Mr. Jason Lusk, Director of the MIST program, explained that the decision to extend the deadline was made after the Tet holiday. “We have seen a blossoming of interest from tourism startups in Vietnam post-Tet, and incubators in Vietnamese cities have requested additional info sessions to answer startups’ questions about the program,” he said. “It made sense to extend the deadline in light of this heightened interest in our program from quality startups.”

Destination Mekong and the MBI - with the backing of the Australian Government, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office - launched MIST in 2016 to propel innovation in the rapidly growing tourism markets of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. MIST aims to expedite tourism industry growth, create an ecosystem that inspires innovation, and promote sustainability in tourism.

The ADB and the Australian Government jointly launched the MBI in 2015, which catalyzes private sector development in emerging ASEAN markets, focusing on Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The program aims to improve the business-enabling environment in these four emerging ASEAN markets, with a particular focus on business advocacy, alternative finance, and innovation.

MBI operates four innovation accelerators: MIST, the Mekong AgriTech Challenge (MATCh), the SMART City Innovation Challenge, and the Fintech Challenge Vietnam (FCV). It is also the principal organizer of the Women’s Initiative for Startup and Entrepreneurship (WISE), a network of women-owned and women-led startups in Vietnam.

Destination Mekong was established in 2017 to promote Cambodia, China (Guangxi and Yunnan), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam as a single tourism destination, stimulate responsible and sustainable development and investment, and drive inclusive growth.

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