There is no way 18 months ago when things started really taking shape with The Good Scout, that we could ever imagine we’d be sharing our vision and our message with people from around the world, in the USA. If you’re not up to speed, last year we participated in an entrepreneur development program through Flinders University. Known as Venture Dorm, the immersive, pre-accelarator is aimed at taking your business, product or service from idea to execution in 12 weeks. At the end of the program, finalists pitch to more than 300 people in hope of impressing the judges, and taking out the Gold eNVIe… and we did it, we won!!

As part of the prize package, this week we (Clair & Linda) head to the USA on the NVI Founders Mission #eNVIUS19. Along with a group of fabulous local businesses, we have the incredible opportunity to visit technology companies and start-ups in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Austin and New York, plus attend a bunch of events, pitch competitions, site visits and networking opportunities!

A big chunk of our trip takes us to #SXSW in Austin, a prestigious annual festival celebrating innovation and creativity. The event is broken down into SXSW Music (with 2,000-plus acts performing across the city); SXSW Film (with screenings of anticipated movies, panels and workshops); and the increasingly popular SXSW Interactive (which is what we are part of), featuring speakers, panels and pitch competitions plus the SXSW Accelerator. At its core, ‘SXSW is a tool for creative people to develop their careers by bringing together people from around the globe to meet, learn and share ideas’. We can’t even begin to get our heads around what we’ll be exposed to and participate in throughout our 5 days on the ground there!

As if this isn’t awesome enough, last week we received an email from Austrade, saying “Congratulations, your company has been accepted to represent the forefront of Australian tech innovation at the SXSW Trade Show”! This is BIG, this is HUGE. The Trade Show is the largest exhibition at SXSW with over 250 exhibitors worldwide, with the opportunity to interact with an audience of over 75,000 conference attendees. We are one of 16 Australian businesses who have been given this opportunity in 2019!

This entrepreneur gig is a real whirlwind. Every day we are exploring, learning, talking, researching, questioning and revising in order to develop innovative solutions to the problems we see that exist in the travel space! Now, its tough because there are no simple answers or direct pathways, this is a long game for sure. It’s a lot about mindset and education, and ultimately its about participation. But, we are so passionate about working to improve the travel industry for people of all abilities, it is crucial we develop a sustainable model to ensure our work can have an impact for years to come.

What does all this mean. Apart from this being the absolute experience of a lifetime, we have the opportunity to talk accessible tourism to people of the world, to raise awareness, to make meaningful connections, to build on our network and to gather invaluable knowledge that helps build our platform, providing a place where travellers of all abilities can belong. The Good Scout aims to be the home of accessible travel, a place where you can come to be inspired to take that next adventure or that very first trip. To talk to others, to gain confidence, to find detailed information easily, to share knowledge and ultimately experience the exhilaration of travel, and make awesome memories.

We are so excited and grateful for this opportunity. We’re equally excited about getting to explore a bit of the US, see a Broadway show, drink cocktails in New York and eat all the bagels.. but mostly, we are excited about the potential opportunities we will be exposed to and what that means for the part we play in the accessible tourism industry.. stay tuned!