Women lead a new breed of entrepreneurship focussed travel tours.

Women lead a new breed of entrepreneurship focussed travel tours.

The fact that travel is becoming increasingly mindful for travellers in search of their meaning is well documented and explains the rise of social impact businesses that have at their heart a genuine desire to benefit people and places. Some of these businesses are truly successful, well established and in the public eye, such as Adventures or Intrepid (recently awarded B Corporation, a certification process assessing businesses as a force for good).

In recent times, however, I have come across a number of smaller, yet very determined and passionately driven women who lead smaller and perhaps less established businesses in travel, and whose focus is to encourage exchange and collaboration amongst entrepreneurs – especially female ones.

Their highly personalised tours are directed at women (and in some cases men) who run their own business in (mostly but not exclusively) the western world and who are keen to explore, collaborate, share knowledge and possibly mentor entrepreneurs in emerging economies.

Take for example Kate Webb, of Orbis Expeditions, UK. The company has existed for a while and runs responsible safaris and educational tours, but more recently, Kate has started a series of tours to Malawi, which feature small groups of established women entrepreneurs visiting and meeting with women-owned, Malawi based businesses. Kate talks passionately about the power of connecting women from around the world in cross-cultural exchanges that enable mutual learning.

Another interesting impact journey is the one organised by Mandeep Kaur, who runs TribesforGOOD. Mandeep organises Social Impact Journeys and unique volunteering opportunities in India to deepen the knowledge of International participants about social enterprises and Sustainable Development Goals. Forthcoming tours also take place in India and are focussed on women entrepreneurs. They aim to provide a deep dive into social innovation, fin tech, gender parity and of course, self-discovery.

There is no doubt that the likes of Kate and Mandeep are riding a trend for customised experiences in specific areas of interest. However, in my opinion, far from being fads, these tours are on the contrary beginning to meet a long-standing need amongst female entrepreneurs to share, collaborate and plant the seeds of innovation through exceptional and soul enriching encounters. A requirement that I see regularly manifested during our mentoring sessions and women-focussed workshops in London and elsewhere.

If travel has the power to change you, journeys such as the ones described above may well have the additional ability to improve your business positively.

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Alessandra is founder of social enterprise Women in Travel CIC which she launched in January 2017 to provide communities in key regions (for example UK, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) with a sustainable livelihood by enabling women to become economically independent through entrepreneurship and a thriving career in the travel and tourism industry. Alessandra is also Chief Mentor & Consultant at Everyday Mentor, where she provides mentoring, coaching and consulting services to a range of clients in the commercial and public sector. Alessandra also collaborates with a number of Universities, including Hertfordshire, Normandy and Surrey. Alessandra is passionate about gender in tourism and has written and spoken extensively on the subject over the last 12 years, including at the United Nations World Tourism Day. She is well known as co-founder of Shine People and Places – a boutique outfit dedicate to supporting women in the workplace - and The Shine Awards for Women Achievements in Travel Tourism Hospitality and Events, which she ran between 2004 and 2010 before Sector Skills Council People 1st took them over. Prior to Shine Alessandra worked at KPMG, where she built the Travel & Tourism division, and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Alessandra has an executive MBA from the University of Ediburgh/Grande Ecole Pons combined; she is a qualified coach/mentor for performance in the workplace and she is a member of several industry bodies including AWTE and the UK Tourism Society.

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