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

Bangalore, Karnataka, India | 23rd February 2021: Immersion India, a Bengaluru based startup that curates study-centric, experiential learning programs in urban and rural India, was chosen as one among the 25 winners of UNWTO SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Global Startup Competition. The competition was launched to identify innovators whose ideas can advance tourism’s contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Immersion India Team

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. Immersion India was chosen as the winner under the category of SDG4 of ensuring quality education and promoting lifelong opportunities for all. Immersion India is the only Indian startup among the 25 winners.

Founded by Anand Joseph and Vineeth Thomas, Immersion India was born out of the need to encourage and promote India as an extensive learning lab. Since its inception in June of 2017, the startup has enabled academicians, students and corporate executives to experience Rural and Urban India in its true sense. Facilitating these experiences in a safe, trustworthy and conducive learning environment is what drives Immersion India. International travel may have come to a standstill for now, but learning has continued. To adapt to the new normal, Immersion India has curated a number of virtual learning programs designed to introduce students to the many resources and learning opportunities that India has to offer. Immersion India’s virtual programs offer an array of India-specific themes and case studies, designed to simulate a real-time learning experience

The UNWTO SDGs Global Startup Competition, which was supported by the United Nations Innovation Network, attracted 10,000 initial proposals. From these, the jury chose 25 winners highlighting the array of tourism talent in every global region and its widespread ability to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Shortlisted finalists were judged according to criteria which included the potential of the startups to contribute to a specific Goal, their ability to be scaled-up and the maturity of both the product and the team behind it. The 25 winning startups, selected by a jury made up of leaders from across the tourism sector, offer distinct solutions for advancing the SDGs.

Commenting on the recognition, Anand Joseph, Founder and Partner, Immersion India, said, “We are excited to be recognised for promoting sustainable immersive learning experiences in India for the global learning community. We started Immersion India to create experiential learning and unique travel experiences that go beyond textbooks and classroom sessions. Our aim was to give students and professionals an opportunity to have a first hand understanding of what one can learn in a culturally-diverse developing nation like India. This win strengthens our commitment towards creating high impact experiences that combine learning and travel.”

The winning startups will be given expert support and backing to develop further, including guided mentorship programmes from Amadeus, Google, IE University and FarCo, and tailored mentorship sessions from Mastercard and ClarkeModet.

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