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Revisiting the Explore Start-up Fund

Each year our Explore Leaders nominate local businesses that need help to get off the ground. Our start-up fund supports grass-root organisations so they in-turn can help local communities and economies, by providing resources, skills and job opportunities. Here we take a look at how this year's Start-Up projects have grown since our donations.

Every year we run our ‘Explore Start-up Fund’,  and ask our Explore Leaders to nominate a local charity or organisation that needs help getting started. Three projects are then selected each year; one of which receives a development donation of £1000, with £750 for two runners up.

The donation allows these businesses to get off the ground, and to grow sustainably. Over the past three years we've had dozens of inspiring nominations from our local teams and have supported at least three a year. Here are some inspiring updates from some of our past winners.

Morocco – Women’s Weaving Co-operative

Nominated in 2016, this fantastic project based in Ighir Deep in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco has been a real success. The aim of the co-operative was to create income and independence for the local women by weaving woollen rugs, jackets, blankets and bags. Our donation facilitated the purchase of looms and materials to get the project started. The project has now grown to employ 19 local women working on multiple looms and producing products that are now sold around the world (and can be bought online!). 

Tanzania - One Bike workshop

Set up by a member of the Explore crew, Hillary Matemu, in the Kilimanjaro region, the One Bike scheme works with local teens to teach them how to repair bicycles. Explore's donation was used to buy bikes and spare parts for the apprentices to use, with Hillary starting the training himself. Bikes are a main source of transport in this area, so learning to repair them gives young people the required skills for a lifelong income. Since One Bike began, it has gone from strength to strength; the business has also started running 're-cycling' litter-picking bike rides, collecting rubbish with the apprentices and the local community to be recycled.

Cambodia - We Grow Project

This project aims to give students at a school in Battambang, Cambodia, the means to learn business skills through an eco-friendly business model. The donation has helped them to set up and grow two vegetable gardens and 300 fruit trees, which provide food for the students and the local community, as well as providing a sustainable source of produce to sell to local businesses. By selling the plants they are now able to take on more students, restore the local ecosystem through sustainable agriculture and provide more nutritious food for the school and local area.

We want to make sure that travelling has a positive impact on the places and people that we visit. Find out more about our other sustainability initiatives.