Airbnb was founded in 2008 during the Great Recession when our co-founders opened their home to guests to help afford their rent. Over a decade later, 4 million Hosts around the world rely on the income they earn from sharing their home on Airbnb to help make ends meet. We want to help give more people, including those from historically underrepresented communities, the opportunity to benefit from local tourism happening in their own backyard.
We are announcing the expansion of the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy, an entrepreneurship development program focused on introducing individuals from diverse and underrepresented communities to hosting on the Airbnb platform in coordination with local community partners. Since its inception in 2017, the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy has grown from supporting one organization to over 40 organizations with 2023 marking the largest cohort of partners yet.
These partners share our commitment to empowering underrepresented communities through hosting and tourism entrepreneurship. Airbnb and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center help fund these partner organizations to support their existing entrepreneurship programs. In 2023, we are working closely with our partners to provide Academy participants with an interactive education program that offers information and guidance from existing Hosts on how to leverage the Airbnb platform.
“We are pleased to support more equitable entrepreneurship and drive economic opportunities for diverse founders across the country alongside Airbnb and this remarkable coalition of nonprofit organizations.”
—Nicola Corzine, Executive Director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center
The organizations participating in the 2023 Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy feature new and established partners from around the world, including:
“Airbnb’s work in the Waterberg as part of the District Development Model is a best-in-class example of how innovative public-private partnerships can work to drive more inclusive economic growth. The partnership with Airbnb is also assisting the Just Energy Transition, helping to train and empower locals, especially women and youth, to benefit from a sustainable tourism industry and biodiversity economy.”
—Fish Mahlalela, Deputy Minister of Tourism, South Africa
“Together with Airbnb we implemented a pilot project aimed at empowering individuals and groups interested in developing tourism products or services based on their cultural heritage or diversity. Through this initiative, participants had access to digital tourism market tools, all in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Our goal is to promote a sustainable tourism model that is managed by the communities themselves, contributes to the conservation of heritage and cultural diversity, and promotes economic growth in areas of Mexico City that have historically faced barriers to tourism development.”
—Alexander Leicht, Chief of the Section of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at UNESCO
“Narrowing the wealth gap is at the heart of our mission, and we truly believe that real estate investment is a crucial vehicle in manifesting this vision. As such, we are delighted to partner with Airbnb in bringing this exceptional academy to our community. It offers an opportunity for black business owners and professionals here in Hampton Roads to add additional streams of revenue to their households while contributing a diverse voice to the sustainable tourism industry. We are truly excited by the long-term impact our partnership with Airbnb will have on our region’s economic growth!”
—Blair Durham, Co-founder & President at Black BRAND
Empowering diverse communities around the world
The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy first launched in 2017 in South Africa to help support education in hospitality and technology for residents from under-resourced communities and rural areas. Given its success, Airbnb soon expanded the program to more communities beyond Africa, including Colombia, Argentina, and the United States.
“The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy taught me how to interact with clients and take my business seriously. When I joined, I was not business-minded, however, I have gained a lot of confidence in managing my property, Pendleberry Grove, because of the knowledge I received. I am so grateful for the opportunity and am excited to continue to share my place with guests visiting Bela-Bela.”
—Rose, Academy Alum, Waterberg, South Africa
“As an Airbnb Academy alum, I am grateful for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Airbnb Academy cohorts that inspired my personal rural entrepreneurship journey. As an Academy participant, I learned about hosting homes and experiences on Airbnb in addition to the value of personal Host connections with guests through unique stays and stories. The inspiration shared during the Academy from several Superhosts and Airbnb ambassadors is the fuel that continues to inspire my unique Glamping Dome launch on our Haliwa-Saponi Native American rural North Carolina family farm. Thanks to Airbnb for supporting and inspiring rural entrepreneurship via the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy.”
—Eva, Academy Alum, North Carolina, United States
“Thanks to the Airbnb Academy UNESCO, I have uncovered the crucial factor that distinguishes my Xochimilco cultural heritage experience from all others. This exceptional opportunity has enabled me to perfect every detail, creating a sensory journey that connects with travelers through my own story and profound love for this enchanting destination. The invaluable insights and unwavering support have led to an increase in bookings and 5-star reviews, allowing me to pursue my passion while promoting sustainable tourism and contributing to heritage conservation. UNESCO and Airbnb’s unwavering commitment to empowering Hosts has truly enabled me to deliver unforgettable experiences while preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Xochimilco.”
—Miroslava, Academy Alum, Mexico City, Mexico
Since then, we have continued to grow the Academy to further our vision of a world in which everyone can access and benefit from the power of technology and tourism.
By expanding the Airbnb Academy with more partners in 2023, we aim to open up economic opportunities for new communities and continue to meet the demand of 21st century travelers seeking more sustainable and impactful ways of traveling. Learn more about the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy.
Read more about: Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy, Community, US Academy
1According to internal data from July 2017 – March 2023