Calling all innovators and entrepreneurs!

There is no such thing as a bad idea.
Just 10 years ago, three guys had an idea to rent out their mattresses to guests. Today, they have a multi-billion dollar company called AirBnB.
It is time for the disruptors of yesterday - Expedia, Uber, TripAdvisor and many others - to be upset by the anarchists of today.
Present your businesses, ideas and innovations to executives, potential collaborators, mentors and investors 
at the Welcome Challenge™ Global Forum.

About

The Welcome Challenge™ Global Forum is the new crossroads where the hospitality and travel industry meets the newest, smartest innovations and ideas that will change the future of operations, consumer products and the tourism business in general.

The Forum will showcase tech-driven innovations, new business models and experience-based concepts designed to facilitate  accommodations and lodging, food and beverage, transportation, entertainment and recreation, environmental sustainability and job development.

Who Will Come -

• Industry executives and innovators from developed tourism destinations and emerging markets 
• Global marketing and research professionals from multiple sectors of the travel and accommodations industry 
• Investors in the tourism and travel industry, lodging and hospitality 
• Featured presenters chosen by an international jury of travel and tourism experts

Forum

The Welcome Challenge Global Forum will feature dynamic presentations from a jury-selected group of entrepreneurs and innovators. Solutions to current challenges, as well as game-changing concepts that will hugely impact the future of the industry, will be presented and showcased. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and discuss specific products and concepts that can be developed for their businesses and companies.

The Forum will open with an international industry seminar from leading experts and managers who will present examples of current and future challenges. Major case studies of businesses that have disrupted the industry will be examined and future impact will be determined.

Throughout the three days, there will be multiple presentations from concept and product innovators. Pitches from the 35 jury-selected participants will be available for attendees to examine in private meetings.

For startup businesses, there will be many opportunities to network, collaborate and do business.

Outstanding industry professionals worldwide are invited as conference speakers and mentors. Their inspiring speeches and presentations will motivate and energize Forum participants.

Participating startups will greatly benefit from the presence of leading professionals in the hospitality industry that will provide mentorship and guidance for their projects.

A list of forum speakers and mentors will be announced shortly.


Startups                     Application Deadline: CLOSED      List of Semi-Finalists   

7 Reasons to Participate in the Welcome Challenge™

Test your business ideas in front of leading industry experts and innovators

Find mentors and possible collaborators to take your idea to the next level

Win cash and other prizes

Meet potential investors who are attending the event in search of the next Unicorns

Hear the most innovative solutions to the current challenges in hospitality industry

Have fun during after-work dining, entertainment and nightlife

  and last but not least

Enjoy free accommodation, meals, entertainment and sightseeing during the forum

  if you are one of 35 startups selected by the jury

Who can participate – startups and individual entrepreneurs who aspire to revolutionize the hospitality industry by developing technology-driven innovations, as well as experience-led concepts.

What types of projects are eligible – any innovative idea, method, technology or concept that offers solutions to challenges in various fields of the hospitality industry and its auxiliary areas, such as: Travel and Tourism, Accommodation, Entertainment and Recreation, Food and Beverage, Events Management; as well as supplies, technology, design, logistics and business models are welcome to participate in the Welcome Challenge™.

How to apply – for the convenience of applicants, and to make the selection of the startups easy and fair, Welcome Challenge™ has incorporated a well-known startup-registration and jury-evaluation platform, YouNoodle. This platform will guarantee a speedy and efficient evaluation of your project for pre-selection by an independent and super-qualified jury.

Application fee – application is free of charge via the YouNoodle platform.

Participation cost – thanks to a grant provided by the government of Georgia, 35 selected startups will attend the competition for FREE. From the moment of arrival at Tbilisi airport through the departure, all accommodation catering and participation in Welcome Challenge™ activities will be sponsored by the organizers, supported by the Georgian government's grant. All other startups willing to participate in the event will be provided with a special, discounted travel package by supporting airlines: Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Georgian Airways and other event-supporting airlines.

Who will judge – a jury of world travel industry experts, senior managers, leading innovators, entrepreneurs and investment professionals will evaluate startup projects based on their innovation, commercial feasibility and team potential. The list of jury members will be provided in due course.

Prizes – three prizes of, respectively, $10,000, $5,000, and $3,000, with various other cash and non-cash awards available from organizers and sponsors.

Forum 

Agenda

10:00 - 18:00
Registration
Radisson Blu, Moxy
20:00 - 22:00
Welcome Reception
Radisson Blu
09:00 - 09:45
Registration
Radisson Blu, Lobby
10:00 - 11:00
Official Opening & Welcome Speeches
Welcome Speech
Welcome Speech
Welcome Speech
Welcome Speech
Disruptors are Welcome

Opening by Organizers
George Kobulia
Giorgi Chogovadze
Beka Jakeli
Nancy Smith
Richard McAniff


Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia
Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration
UNWTO
CBC Foundation
President of Steller, Former Executive VP of Microsoft and Samsung
Radisson Blu, Ballroom
11:00 - 11:45
Coffee Break
Radisson Blu, Lobby
11:45 - 13:00
Panel 1 - Industry Challenges and Opportunities
Hospitality and Tourism Industry's current trends and future challenges and perspectives. Open discussion and Q&A with leading Industry experts.
Radisson Blu, Ballroom
13:00 - 14:00
Lunch
Radisson Blu, Filini Restaurant
14:00 - 14:30
Semi-Final Pitch Sessions Briefing

* Pre-selected Startups will pitch in front of panel of judges - world’s travel industry experts, senior managers, leading innovators, entrepreneurs and investors

Radisson Blu, Ballroom
14:30 - 15:00
Pitches* + Q&A
Radisson Blu, Ballroom 1 & 2
16:00 - 16:30
Coffee Break
Radisson Blu, Lobby
16:30 - 18:00
Pitches* + Q&A
Radisson Blu, Ballroom 1 & 2
18:00 - 19:00
Jury Deliberation
20:00 - 22:00
Announcement of Finalists - Evening Event & Dinner
Funicular Event Hall
10:00 - 11:15
Panel 2 - Industry Trends and Sollutions
Changes occuring in Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Encouraging Trends, solutions and successful cases
Radisson Blu, Ballroom
11:15 - 11:45
Coffee Break
Radisson Blu, Lobby
11:45 - 13:00
Panel 3 - Industry Disruption and Success Cases
Innovations role in Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Encouraging Innovation, thinking "out of box", disrupting traditional "still" approaches - the Way to Success.
Radisson Blu, Ballroom
13:00 - 14:00
Lunch
Radisson Blu, Filini Restaurant
14:00 - 14:30
Final - Pitch Sessions Briefing

* Pre-selected Startups will pitch in front of panel of judges - world’s travel industry experts, senior managers, leading innovators, entrepreneurs and investors

Radisson Blu, Ballroom
14:30 - 16:00
Pitches* + Q&A
Radisson Blu, Ballroom
16:00 - 16:30
Coffee Break
Radisson Blu, Lobby
16:30 - 18:30
Pitches* + Q&A
Radisson Blu, Ballroom
18:00 - 19:00
Jury Deliberation
20:00 - 23:00
Announcement of Winners - Evening Event & Dinner
Republica Event Space
23:00
Nightlife Event
TBA
09:00 - 10:30
Angel Investors Breakfast and Round Table
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Investment specifics, Exchanging Experience, Success Cases
Radisson Blu, Surface Launge
11:00 - 12:00
Investor - Startup Matchup
Tourism and Hospitality Industry's current trends and future challenges and perspectives. Open discussion and Q&A with leading Industry experts.
GITA Technopark
12:00 - 13:00
B2B Meetings
GITA Technopark
13:00 - 14:00
Lunch
GITA Technopark
14:00 - 19:00
Excursion
TBA
19:00
Farewell Dinner
TBA

Attendees

There is one primary reason to attend –

BE FIRST to know the innovations that are coming, to customize them for your benefit, to anticipate the changes,

and to learn how they can/may disrupt your business.

Investors & Corporates
Registration

    One of the main goals of
    Welcome Challenge™ is to
    create a shortcut between
    innovative startups and
    entrepreneurs, on the one
    hand, and angel and VC
    investment firms on the
    other, ensuring quicker and
    more sustainable
    implementation of various
    innovative ideas for the
    benefit of the hospitality
    industry.

See Packages *
Deadline:                  October 22, 2018
Guests
Registration

    Anyone who is interested in
    the hospitality industry’s
    challenges, perspectives and
    innovative ideas can attend
    the Forum’s selected events
    after registration.

100 USD or 250 GEL
Deadline:                  October 22, 2018
Students & Professors
Registration
    Those who are teaching
    and studying will also have
    an opportunity to attend the
    Forum with a special package
    at a discounted rate.
   
40 USD or 100 GEL
Deadline:                  October 22, 2018
Media
Accreditation
    International and local media —
    TV, press, bloggers, online and
    offline media — will broadly cover
    the Welcome Challenge™ forum.
    If you’re a blogger, you’ll get an
    opportunity to share your ideas
    and opinions about challenges
    and innovative solutions for the
    hospitality industry in a
    specifically-built
    WELCOME CHALLENGE™
    blog section.

Free - with Media Credentials
Deadline:                  October 22, 2018

NOTE: All attendees of the Forum must register on this website and obtain an appropriate badge during onsite registration before entering the premises.


Based on which category they register for, attendees will have different packages for access to the Welcome Challenge™ Global Forum events and functions.

During the registration process, please check carefully on what is included in your package (attendance at events, dinners, receptions, etc.)

For certain events and functions, it is possible to attend by paying an extra fee. In such cases, a prior booking will be required and will be subject to availability.

* For investors and corporates, several different packages are available, as well as sponsorship opportunities. Please fill out registration forms accordingly.


Location      Tbilisi,Georgia         24-26 October, 2018                                                                                 

Why Georgia?

Georgia’s hospitality industry has been growing by 30 to 40 percent annually; thus choosing its capital, Tbilisi, as the venue for a major hospitality industry forum is a no-brainer.

The Georgian government (GoG) is committed to financing most event-related costs, including in-country expenses for 35 selected-by-the-jury startups, until the Forum achieves sustainability, and this made the difference. As the organizers of Welcome Challenge™, we would like to extend our great appreciation to the Georgian government for their foresight and support.

Even without government support, Georgia is a top-recommended place to visit for any kind of event because of its ancient and distinct culture, great food, amazing wine and unbelievable hospitality.

More about Georgia   

Georgian National Tourism Agency


How To Get Here

There are three international airports in Georgia: Tbilisi International Airport, Batumi International Airport and Kutaisi International Airport.

There are many direct flights to Tbilisi from major European and Asian cities. From London, Munich, Amsterdam, Paris, Kiev, Moscow, Athens, Istanbul, Doha, Tel-Aviv, Astana, Dubai, etc., flights are available many times per week.

From many other cities in the world, transit flights are offered by Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qatar Airlines, Ukrainian International Airlines, Lot Airlines, China Southern, Pegasus Airlines, etc.

We expect that attendees will mainly arrive to Tbilisi, however If you will not arrive in Tbilisi, please specify your arrival point, so that we can arrange appropriate transfer.


Our Partner Airline

 

Turkish Airlines, as our official partner, has provided preferential rates for Welcome Challenge Global Forum visiting attendees. Special-rate tickets are available through our partner travel agency, Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
   

Our Partner Agency


 

Visitors can book flights themselves, or through our partner, AATA Travel Agency CTS LLC, Carlson Wagonlit Travel Georgia.

Apart from providing ticketing to / from all destinations, these agencies are authorized to issue tickets for Turkish Airlines at  preferential rates for Welcome Challenge participants.

Contact Travel Agency

 

Learn About The Visa

Citizens of more than 90 countries and territories, listed at www.geoconsul.gov.ge, can enter Georgia without a visa for stays of up to one year.

There is no visa requirement for those who hold a passport from the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, member states of the European Union, CIS countries, GCC countries, etc. Citizens of EU countries may enter Georgia with a national identity card instead of a passport; other nationalities must carry their passports.

A passport valid for at least six months is required for all nationalities.

For more information, please visit the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

Those who need a visa to visit Georgia can apply for an e-visa online. An e-visa can be obtained easily via the Georgian territory as a normal sticker visa in a passport.

 

E-Visa Application

 

Lodging & Venue


Speakers, jury members, registered investors and other guests will be accommodated at one of Tbilisi's prime hotels,  Radisson Blu Iveria, where the forum will also take place.

Hotel Radison Blu Iveria offers an exclusive spa center with indoor and outdoor pools, free WiFi, a gourmet Italian restaurant as well as Umami Asian fusion restaurant and Sky Bar located on the 18th floor for a vista of Tbilisi.

 

 

Startups, preselected by the jury and officially invited to participate in the competition, will be accomodated for FREE at MOXY Tbilisi Hotel.

Moxy Tbilisi by Marriott is the first Moxy Hotel in Georgia. City youngsters and fun hunters gather for a drink in the roomy, light, locally-designed lobby, bobbing their heads to tunes of resident DJs. The surrounding area makes for a perfect spot to explore Tbilisi. It's famous for 19th century buildings that now house charming shops, gourmet restaurants and vibrant wine bars. This is not unusual; Georgian wine is of excellent quality.

Moxy Tbilisi is only 700m from the famous Rustaveli Theater and Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater. The Radisson Blu Iveria, where the forum takes place, is within a 20 minute walk. Ground trasnportation will be provided to all forum participants.

 

NOTE:

Invited Attendees who would like to share a room with an accompanying (non-attendee) person or spouse, or wants to stay longer than is provided by organizers, please send us an Accommodation Request for appropriate bookings upon availability .

All other participants can make their own bookings at various Tbilisi hotels, or they can send us an Accommodation Request so we can help them .


Accommodation Request