Immersion India Wins UNWTO SDGS Global Startup Competition for Creating Experiential Learning through Travel

Bangalore, Karnataka, India | February 23, 2021: Immersive India, a Bengaluru-based startup that implements experiential learning programs in urban and rural India, has been selected as one of the 25 winners of the UNWTO Global Startup Competition (Sustainable Development Goals). The competition was launched to identify innovators whose ideas can help tourism contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable and inclusive tourism. Immersion India was selected as a winner in the SDG4 category for providing quality education and improving life opportunities for all. Among the 25 winners, Immersion India is the only Indian startup.

Founded by Anand Joseph and Vineet Thomas, Immersion India was born out of the need to promote and support India as a great laboratory for learning. Since its inception in June 2017, the start-up has given academics, students and CEOs the opportunity to explore rural and urban India in the truest sense of the word. Enabling this experience in a safe, secure and supportive learning environment is what motivates India Immersion. International travel may currently be at an impasse, but learning continues. To adapt to the new situation, Immersion India has created a series of virtual learning programs to introduce students to the many resources and learning opportunities that India has to offer. Immersion India’s virtual programs offer a range of India-specific topics and case studies that simulate learning in real time.

UNWTO’s global SDG start-up competition, supported by the United Nations Innovation Network, attracted 10 000 preliminary designs. From these, a jury selected 25 winners, highlighting the wide range of tourism talent in each region of the world and their overall contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The shortlisted finalists were judged on criteria such as the startups’ potential to contribute to a specific goal, their adaptability, and the maturity of the product and team supporting it. The 25 winning startups, selected by a panel of tourism industry leaders, offer a variety of solutions for advancing GDSs.

Commenting on this recognition, Anand Joseph, founder and partner of Immersion India, said, “We are delighted to be recognized for promoting a sustainable immersion learning experience in India for the global learning community. “We launched Immersion India to create unique experiential learning and travel experiences that go beyond textbooks and classroom activities,” he added. “Our goal was to give students and professionals a first-hand look at what there is to learn in an emerging and culturally diverse country like India. This win underscores our commitment to creating impactful experiences that combine learning and travel.

Winning seedlings receive expert support and are encouraged to continue their development. This includes mentoring programs from Amadeus, Google, IE University and FarCo, as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions from Mastercard and ClarkeModet.

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