Press release of our launch event

CapsuleT: the first Travel & Hospitality Accelerator for startups in Greece, an initiative by the HCH.

A leading role in accelerating Innovation in Tourism is undertaken by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels through the establishment of CapsuleT, the Travel and Hospitality Accelerator.

For this purpose, the HCH officially launched the previous week, with a special event hosted at ‘Athinais Cultural Center’, the first Greek accelerator exclusively dedicated to tourism, in order to bring innovative tech ventures working in the tourism sector closer to the industry leaders and investors.

This is the 1st Travel & Hospitality Startup Accelerator in Greece, which will be housed at the HCH’s own premises in Kallithea, with the following objectives for the period 2019-2021: a) hands-on learning, acceleration and financial support for 65 startups, b) training and mentoring for over 300 young people participating in its programs, and c) the aspiration to contribute to the creation of more than 300 job positions.

The keynote speaker of the launch event was Mr Itai Green, Founder and CEO of Innovate-Israel, as well as Founder of Israel Travel Tech Startups Community (ITTS). We should note that Mr Green is a globally recognized entrepreneur and an important member of Israel’s startup ecosystem.

In yesterday’s event, Mr Green presented the ‘road map’ for the successful scale-up of tech startups working in the tourism sector, based on Israel’s successful model. Moreover, he shared with the attendees of the event his deep knowledge and experience regarding innovative ventures in tourism.

While referring to the innovative initiative, the President of the HCH, Mr Alexandros Vassilikos, among others, stated: “To get into the right framework of this HCH’s initiative, we need to look at the big picture! The ‘next day’ in Greece requires a restart on many levels. And this restart, in order to be successful, has to be based on the ‘healthy’ and creative resources of the country. According to this very acknowledgment, the idea comes to life today. The first Τravel – Hospitality Accelerator for startups working in tourism in Greece, aims to bring hotels closer to the innovative entrepreneurship, so that added value for both sides and the country can be generated. We join our forces, believing in the power of synergies and collaboration. Tourism is an issue that concerns everyone. Therefore, we connect tourism, the ‘national champion’ that generates growth, revenues and job opportunities, with the vibrant cell of innovative entrepreneurship”. Additionally, Mr Vassilikos invited all stakeholders to get actively involved. “It’s very important that this initiative is embraced by hotels and the startup community. Moreover, it is important that this initiative receives the support from the business community as a whole”, he added.

The vision and the strategic pillars of the Travel and Hospitality Accelerator, CapsuleT, were presented by the Director of the accelerator, Mrs Katerina Saridaki, during the launch event.

As she declared, those are the following: a) the reinforcement of the creation of new innovative business ideas, b) the development and growth of startups through the acceleration program and c) activities regarding networking, visibility, promotion and communication opportunities between the market and the startup ecosystem. Mrs Saridaki pointed out that the programs and the activities of the accelerator, among others, include learning through workshops and presentations, open events and inspirational talks, mentoring programs, networking opportunities in Greece and abroad, meetups with executives of the travel and hospitality industry, collaborations and synergies with the tourism industry, business community, academia and startup ecosystem in Greece, as well as on-site group visits to partners and industry related businesses.

The Director of the new accelerator said that CapsuleT will mainly include Greek tech startups in its programs. Part of its role will be to seek for collaborations and exposer for the participating startups beyond Greece’s borders, in order to build synergies and initiatives that will help startups and the tourism industry innovate. Regarding the program, she presented its two main activities: a) the Idea Platform, a competition addressed to young University graduates and postgraduates, who will be invited to submit new business ideas that will provide solutions to real problems of the tourism industry, and b) the core vehicle of the accelerator’s efforts, the Acceleration Program, which will run twice a year, with a duration of 3 months per cycle and will be offered to startups which are already working in the tourism industry and want to scale-up, through a robust, learning program and activities, in collaboration with the tourism market itself and the hotels, as well as the wider business community of the country.

The first application period for the CapsuleT Acceleration Program will start in June, while from September to November of 2019, the first cycle of the program will run at the accelerator’s premises in Kallithea. More announcements regarding the application period and process will be shared soon on the accelerator’s social media pages as well as on its website.

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