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Vayando is an Atlanta based for-profit social enterprise that connects curious travelers with micro- entrepreneurs in emerging economies around the world. We are an online booking platform for travelers to connect directly with entrepreneurs to learn about their livelihoods. Our goal is to utilize growth and diversification in the global tourism sector to unlock economic and business development opportunity for hundreds of thousands of local entrepreneurs, while creating unique travel experiences.

Experiences range from spending the afternoon beekeeping with Sylvestre, a 76 year old beekeeper in Muramba, Rwanda - and member of a cooperative marketing honey locally and to national buyers, to working with Maritza, a hillside farmer in Costa Rica looking to expand into market oriented hydroponic production, to connecting with innovative technology- based entrepreneurs at the forefront of innovation in their country. We are currently operating in Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, and Costa Rica, with a 100 country goal.

By 2030, over one billion travelers will visit developing countries annually, and account for 60% of the tourism sector. More and more, people are moving toward peer-to-peer travel and looking for locally unique experiences. In emerging economies, many entrepreneurs have no web presence, and face significant obstacles in sustaining their livelihoods and achieving small business growth. Vayando is the first global platform that connects travelers directly with local entrepreneurs, allowing them to book experiences to learn about the livelihood practices they are engaged in. If you have travelled to these areas you know that it can be difficult to confidently step off the plane or bus and connect with people not in the traditional travel guide. Vayando is a tool to change that.

For scale, Vayando coordinates with reputable in-country field-partner organizations - such as Peace Corps - to identify motivated entrepreneurs in the communities where they work and support with them in creating an online profile. The majority of entrepreneurs we market have limited internet access, but do have a marketable skill and also own a basic cell phone. Travelers browse through online profiles in the country they are traveling and book experiences with these individuals, or the cooperatives they are members of. Bookings are easily confirmed and managed through Vayando's integrated online and SMS based platform. Payment is made securely via mobile money. Entrepreneurs only need to be able to receive and send text messages, and many can double their monthly income with only one or two bookings.

Please visit www.vayando.com  for more information.

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