Sustainable Development Goals Global Startup Competition

Sustainable Development Goals Global Startup Competition



SDG6 - Clean water and sanitation  

Source (United States of America)

SDG13 - Climate action  

Opus 12, Inc. (United States of America)


Dive into the world’s largest call to reach the most disruptive startups that directly contribute to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UN agency responsible for promoting sustainable, accessible and inclusive tourism, this Competition aims to encourage the global innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem to embrace sustainability and to deliver impact during the United Nations Decade of Action starting this year.

Bringing together stakeholders from a variety of sectors across the economy, this initiative sets out to reach a common goal, to set innovation at the forefront of sustainable development in corporations and destinations.




Main Partner



Airline partner:



Destination partners

Fontur Colombia
Moscow City
























Imapct Hub




Plug and play


Advance Leadership Foundation






Joint effort


The worldwide COVID-19 outbreak has brought the world to a standstill and both, civil society and the private sector have been severely affected. Consequently, the pandemic jeopardizes all of the progress achieved thus far in terms of sustainability.

Against this backdrop of heightened uncertainty, tourism's proven resiliency and dynamic nature can be harnessed to support and reinforce recovery. Given the sector's capacity to create jobs and increase inclusiveness, UNWTO calls for a transversal, cross-sector approach to boost sustainable development all over the world.

1 in 10 jobs worldwide are in tourism
1 in 10 jobs worldwide are in tourism
UNWTO (2019)
Employed54% of people employed in tourism are women
UNWTO (2019)
7% of global exports UNWTO (2019)7% of global exports
UNWTO (2019)
1.5 one billion arrivals reached in 2019 UNWTO (2020)1.5 one billion arrivals reached in 2019
UNWTO (2020)
5% of the Global Unicorn Club Corresponds to travel
CBInsights (2020)

Tourism is a major leader to the global economy and is at the centre of the most disruptive innovation. Due to its active work with startups, the sector has reached safe and experiential travelling as never before. Now, it is the time to bolster this joint effort with entrepreneurs to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through new ways of tackling global challenges.



Startups from all walks of life, from all over the world and all economic sectors are invited to participate if meeting the following criteria:

  • Be innovative in nature providing value-added solutions
  • Be sustainability-driven
  • Be scalable: to have potential for international growth and potential to be applied in corporations and destinations (countries, regions)
  • Be an Early Stage or Series A startup
  • Have a tested pilot and business plan
  • Have been accelerated before
  • Have a full-time team

All ways of innovation are welcome: new methods, processes, governance models, social impact initiatives, and technologies.


This Competition features 17 categories, each one representing a Sustainable Development Goal.

Each participating startup should select the SDG in which can generate the greatest impact.

To know more from the SDGs, visit our Tourism for SDGs Platform.

1.No poverty
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. Zero hunger
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Good health and well-being
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
4. Quality education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Gender equality
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Clean water and sanitation
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Affordable and clean energy
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Decent work and economic growth
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
9.Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
10.Reduces inequalities
Reduce inequality within and among countries
11.Sustainable cities and communities
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12.Responsible consumption and production
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13.Climate action
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14. Life below water
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15.Life on land
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
16.	Peace, justice and strong institutions
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Partnerships for the goals
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Participating startups will be assessed according to their:

  • Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Ease of value capture via collaboration with the startup
  • Potential business impact
  • Maturity of the product/technology
  • Maturity of the team and the organization
  • Partnership readiness

Benefits for winning startups include but are not limited to:

  • Pitch at a UNWTO Demo Day
  • Access to technological support
  • Access to 90+ Venture Capitalists
  • Access to Top Corporations and 150+ Countries
  • Curated mentorship programme from Amadeus, ClarkeModet, Google, IE University, Mastercard and more corporations
  • Potential pilot project with private sector collaborators and institutions

Get ready for your application:

  1. Keep in mind the category or Sustainable Development Goal you will apply for
  2. Read the Terms & Conditions (hipervinculado al PDF) of the Competition
  3. Make an attractive pitch deck in English (no more than 15 slides)
  4. List your web page, social media users and contact information 

Once you have all of them ready, fill out the Application form in English


Feel free to contact us for any inquiries at with the subject: "Inquiry SDGs Competition".





14 July, 2020


New deadline for candidatures

10 October 2020 23:59 CET


Announcement of winning startups

21 December 2020


Pitching round for winners