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  • Written by Susannah Binsted
Founder, Craig Lambert, CEO, Karen Lawson, Founder, Trent Bagnall.Founder, Craig Lambert, CEO, Karen Lawson, Founder, Trent Bagnall.

Startups can now apply for the Queensland-based Horizons accelerator 

Brisbane, August 2: A new tourism industry accelerator backed by some of Queensland’s biggest corporates, Amadeus and Brisbane Airport Corporation, has officially opened.

The accelerator called Horizons will strengthen the growing industry by facilitating the development of compelling business models and by helping Startups secure the traction, viability, investment and partnership opportunities needed to succeed. 

Queensland is Australia’s second largest tourism market, accounting for 24 per cent of the national tourism output and employing over 130,000 people[1]. Rather than being a distinct industry, tourism covers a range of services, and Startups or established businesses with diverse products and offerings are encouraged to apply. 

Startups accepted into Horizons will receive bespoke training and resources, a support team of mentors, access to co-working space and $30,000 of initial seed investment with the potential for a further $100,000 of follow-on funding. 

They will also be able to tap into the expertise of some of the best travel business minds in the region with support from Amadeus and Brisbane Airport Corporation. 

Simon Akeroyd Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Amadeus Asia Pacific said, “With more than 30 Startups and 60 partners on board Amadeus Next, we continue to grow our startup community in Asia Pacific. We look for like-minded partners and organisations that share our passion for innovation and travel technology to pilot with startups and validate their solutions and business models. Combining its people, vision and approach, Slingshot is a perfect example of this.”

Amadeus established Amadeus Next in 2015, a travel tech startup community to unite travel tech Startups with companies and organisations who are equally excited about travel technology and looking to support, accelerate and scale Startups into leading companies.

Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO and Managing Director Julieanne Alroe said, “The growth and development of Queensland’s travel and tourism industry is inextricably linked to the future of Brisbane Airport Corporation. While our investment in infrastructure and partnerships are an important foundation, we’re looking to support new and innovative ideas that will drive further growth. Queensland is the obvious choice for Australia’s first travel and tourism accelerator and we can’t wait to see what emerges.” 

Startups are now able to apply for the 12-week Horizons program. Set to kick off on the 3rd  of October, Slingshot will operate two cohorts simultaneously, one based in Brisbane and a regional accelerator based in one of the world’s great tourism destinations - Cairns.

Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot said every industry will face disruption and the tourism industry is no exception. 

“We’ve already seen the impact of collaborative consumption business models like Airbnb and now we’re excited to invest in up and coming Startups and scaling businesses as they shift the dial.”

“With the tourism industry employing nearly 10 per cent of people in Queensland, there is a huge opportunity to cross pollinate a range of products and services, like accommodation, leisure, retail, recreation services, transport and hospitality, with cutting edge technological developments like AI, big data, AR / VR and frictionless payments, to drive commercial outcomes.”

The 12-week program will be led by renowned Startup specialist, advisor, entrepreneur and Queensland local, Colin Kinner, who has over twenty years' experience working with high-growth technology-based companies. 


To find out more you are invited to join the Horizons roadshow on Tuesday the 15th of August at 5pm-6:30pm at The Precinct in Fortitude Valley and at theSPACE in Cairns – RSVP


The Queensland Government’s $420 million Advance Queensland initiative is supporting the Slingshot run Horizons accelerator. 

Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said “Horizons provides Startup entrepreneurs and business innovators with the support they need to thrive in the Queensland tourism industry. Not only does Slingshot cultivate local talent through first-class mentoring assistance, they also connect them to investors and potential business partners.”

About Slingshot

Slingshot is Australia’s leading corporate accelerator program, working with clients such as Qantas, Lion Group, SEEK, Hudson, HCF, ING Direct, the NSW Government, the QLD Government and UTS. The Startups and Scaleups that have gone through Slingshot-run accelerators have a combined market capitalisation of more than $227M and over 82 per cent are still active or have been acquired. The Slingshot methodology is validated and university accredited, with their STAR4000 course helping to equip the next generation of entrepreneurs. This year Slingshot also launched a new platform, CoVentured, to connect corporate Australia to a growing community of Startups and Scaleups. Founding corporates on the platform included Westpac, Woolworths, Optus, Australia Post, Energy Australia, Lendlease and Tabcorp.