Exploring Russia, a travel startup accelerator, has been launched with the aim of promoting the country as a destination.
Entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky is behind the initiative and says that while it might feel like a strange time to focus on travel, it’s important to support startups.
“It’s an especially difficult time for startups, which were only planning to launch this year or had just done so and definitely could not predict such a crisis coming their way," he says. "So we decided to support them with this accelerator project and help them use this time for development and improvement of their business projects.”
Although anyone can apply, projects must be applicable to helping promote tourism in Russia which need more promotion, according to Kaspersky, who says that apart from the cities, much of the rest of the country is neglected.
Exploring Russia is seeking about ten projects for the accelerator “with a novel approach to tourism and travel,” from either existing startups or just people with an idea that can help the destination in some way.
“Participants don’t need to have a fully operating business; projects may exist merely as ideas in their creators’ minds. So I believe this is one of those rare opportunities to bring ideas to life for some people!”
The accelerator program will run online for two weeks in June, with workshops and sessions from industry experts and potential investors.
A pitch day will decide on the final three projects - each will receive a grant for online learning dedicated to his or her business.
Kaspersky says he hopes to see a rise in domestic tourism, first and foremost as Russians explore their own country whilst international restrictions remain in place.