Summer is here, it’s vacation time and there is a world of opportunities for you to spend your time. But should vacation be only about you or should you add more meaning to it?
You could dive into the Atlantic Ocean and help cleaning it or visit a city while participating in the education of institutionalized kids. This and more can be provided to you by impacTrip, a travel agency with the special twist of providing you solidarity experiences. The company establishes partnerships with local organizations allowing you to volunteer while traveling.
“We develop the programs in partnership with the social organizations, to have a real and impactful offer. We know what each one of the organizations needs” – says Rita Marques, co-founder.
With a small and very motivated team, they are now launching a new platform with new offers and discounts. For now, only experiences in Portugal are available because, as Rita says, there’s a lot to do here:
We believe there’s no need of going to the other side of the world to have a positive impact. We can start with our own country that, unfortunately, has a lot of social needs.
While the Eco-diving is famous among groups of friends and backpackers, families and couples select their 4-days nature programs. They estimate that more than 1,5 million Europeans travel abroad to volunteer every year. Generally, their customers are Northern-European tourists, but the Portuguese start showing interest too:
The Portuguese tourists are starting to look for this kind of tourism, more active and local. The Portuguese are accepting our work and adhering better than expected (…) We are pioneers in Portugal and we want to increase the diversity of the offer in Europe.
Being a company that beyond profit, aims for a social impact, success has a different meaning when compared to the “normal” companies.
We measure our impact in several ways – we can consider the amount of garbage the tourists remove from the ocean, the blood quantity collected, the number of meals cooked, the number of people fed, etc. But there are some things that can be measured in… smiles.
While the business model is the same as any other travel agency, there’s a catch: to manage a big network of partners and knowing each individual need and infrastructure.
We are always looking for new partners. They are many and very different and it has been a challenge, but a very rewarding and interesting one.
impacTrip was one of the companies invested at Shark Tank Portugal and they couldn’t be happier with the results.
The deals closed are way more worthy than the agreed investment.
Creating a business is always challenging and creating a social business has some more particularities. The impacTrip team leaves 3 tips for the social entrepreneurs to be:
1 – Creating a wonderful social solution that’s not sustainable doesn’t make sense;
2 – When people say that “hard work” is needed to get anywhere, think of your worst Finals week and multiply it by 10;
3 – Go for it, don’t fear.