2018 MIST Startup Accelerator applications are now closed and will re-open in 2019.
MIST is the Mekong region’s tourism and travel tech accelerator. If you’re a startup founder or small business owner operating in tourism, hospitality, or travel tech then this is the platform to propel your business.
As MIST’s media partner, Dulichable has the inside scoop. We’ve spoken to the MIST organizers, mentors, consultants, judges, and startup coaches. We followed MIST 2017 closely and we’re in touch with all the participants from last year, including the winners. We’ve seen where MIST has taken these startups and small businesses, and we’re excited to see what the program will do for entrepreneurship this year.
So why apply? What exactly is in it for you?
We’ve gone through all the information and picked out the 5 most important reasons why you should apply. Take a look below.
1. Prize Money up to $10,000USD
One of the biggest incentives to apply is the opportunity to win prize money, which you can use to invest in your business. The “best in show” applicant will receive $10,000USD, the first runner up will receive $5,000USD, and all the other finalists will win $1,000USD.
2. Bootcamp in Ho Chi Minh City
The bootcamp in Ho Chi Minh City is an all-expenses-paid week of workshops, seminars, lectures, and networking opportunities. This is your chance to fine-tune your business plan with experts in your field in a short time, as well as exchange knowledge with other successful applicants from around the region. Note that the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) funds the bootcamp, and their project extends to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam only. Applicants from these countries will have their trip fully-funded, but applicants from Thailand will need to front their transport and accommodation costs.
3. 6-month Mentorship Program
The 6-month mentorship program is one of the most valuable things that MIST offers to successful applicants. The extensive list of mentors consists of experts from all different backgrounds, including traditional tourism, restaurants and hotels, and travel tech. But the MIST mentorship program isn’t just about mentors: they also pair you up with startup coaches. These are a big part of the program as they have country-specific knowledge, facilitate weekly check-in meetings, and help you build KPIs for your business.
4. Unrivaled Networking Opportunities
The networking opportunities with MIST are extensive. The program is observed closely by three large supporting organizations: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of Australia, and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. But that’s just the tip of the ice berg. MIST is also partnered with various local tourism administrations, innovation centers, investment groups (see below), and successful regional business people. Not to mention links with international mature startups and companies through the parallel Market Access Program. MIST is also an opportunity to network with peers across the region that have also applied for the program.
5. Links to Investment
Finally, MIST can link you with investors that might have huge impact on your business. Tourism, hospitality, and travel tech is big business in the Mekong region, and venture capitalists will be watching the competition closely. The Pitch Night at the end of the Bootcamp in Ho Chi Minh City is an excellent opportunity to seed investment, as is the Mekong Tourism Forum in June.
2018 MIST Startup Accelerator applications are now closed and will re-open in 2019. Would you like to get a head start for next year? Download our free guide below but please note that the criteria may change in 2019.