The coronavirus pandemic has hit the tourism industry especially hard. It damaged not only existing business, but also upcoming projects and plans. Tourism industry companies are now deprived both of any support from the larger actors and even an opportunity to promote themselves to launch new projects. In order to support startups and Russia’s domestic tourism, Eugene Kaspersky is launching the online-accelerator Kaspersky Exploring Russia.
The accelerator has the aim of gathering the most interesting and promising tourism projects and then to help their creators implement their ideas further. After all, projects like these and the enthusiasts behind them made Eugene fall in love with traveling around Russia in the first place. And now it is high time for him to give something back by helping their planned projects become a reality.
Commenting on the new online accelerator program, Eugene said: ‘This COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic experience for everyone. But it has also brought so much unity: people have started helping each other. Meanwhile we’re continuing our main job – maintaining security in cyberspace – but we’ve decided to also help out companies that are suffering the most. And we’re going to do that by giving them a chance to fulfill their plans and use this period for the maximum benefit. Our team, including me personally, is going to assist the projects by using our media- and marketing tools. Also, our accelerator will help with attracting investment. Participants will get a chance to present themselves in front of relevant companies, businesspeople and funds. Needless to say, the pandemic is going to change the tourism industry, but it doesn’t mean people won’t have the desire to travel and explore. And in this situation, the ones who will benefit will be those who use this crisis period wisely – and be able to offer the market new approaches and projects”.
Being Russia-oriented, tourism-related – and smart! – is basically all that a project needs to be in order to be enrolled in the Kaspersky Exploring Russia program. Participants don’t even need to have a fully operating business, and their projects may exist merely as ideas in their creators’ minds. There are also no geographical or national restrictions: participants may be from any country.
Participants will be categorized into four nominations:
- Technological projects (start-ups) in the field of Travel Tech
- Projects that make extreme and leisure tourism more accessible, and that also popularize and create infrastructure for it (Infrastructure Track)
- Business projects that are socially significant in the fields of travel and tourism (Social Tech)
- Business projects that have a positive impact on sustainable development (Sustainability)
The jury – consisting of Eugene himself, Kaspersky representatives, and leading experts in tourism – will select a shortlist of the most promising projects.
Finalists will get a chance to gain more knowledge on a series of online workshops and lectures. Leading experts in the industry will share their experiences and explain how to create a successful business. The finalists will learn everything from how to calculate a financial plan to how to apply a marketing strategy. During the program, finalist will not only compete for the main prizes, but also they will be helping themselves attract investment. Even the lecturers themselves could become so interested in projects to start supporting them. Moreover, the accelerator program will serve as a communication platform for young entrepreneurs to get in contact with key people.
The winners will be announced and awarded by Eugene himself. The gold medalist will be awarded an online education grant directly relevant to their project. Those coming second will be awarded PR and marketing support for their projects. The participants taking third place will be awarded software subscriptions tailored to solve their business needs.
Throughout the duration of the program, the most inspiring ideas will be mentioned on Eugene Kaspersky and tourism influencers’ social media channels. They will also get PR opportunities in tourism-related media.
Eugene Kaspersky hopes this initiative will help talented entrepreneurs acquire new knowledge and skills. He wishes it will help them find investors for their projects become a reality, and thus will boost the tourism industry. In addition to that, he hopes Russia will reveal itself in a new light – for both domestic and international travelers.