Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Explain your project in details:
StoryTracks is a global Storytelling as a Service platform which provides the most authentic means of digital engagement in travel today. The company has created an immersive, highly engaging mobile application which allows travel clients to distribute content to multiple channels as well as create their own bespoke audio-guides. Upon reviewing StoryTracks, Noirin Hegarty, VP of Digital content Lonely Planet stated StoryTracks is a groundbreaking, creative platform. I see it as the future of in-destination travel" Agreed terms to provide Storytelling services for the first Hyatt Hotel to come to Ireland. The client, Hudson Bay Hotel Group, are due to open Hyatt Centric in June 2019 in Dublin. The client has requested another application which will tell the stories of their staff in the entire Hudson Group. The client has agreed to promote this partnership through their marketing channels upon contract signature and launch. Hyatt Hotels currently have 843 hotels worldwide. StoryTracks has brought an extremely robust, scalable and efficient product to market to prove concept and engage clients. The company's award-winning technology, built on Google Cloud Platform will allow StoryTracks to scale its services for the export market. StoryTracks solution to the travel markets need for greater visitor in-destination digital engagement is better than competitors as it is the only audio-guide platform in the world today which allows users upload their content to an application and pin to its location. StoryTracks record locals telling their own stories of place, not travel experts/historians. This provides more authentic real user experiences which is the top trended need in travel today and is in line with the experiential needs of millennial visitors. StoryTracks allows users the unique ability to upload content (via their moderation department) creating a decentralised network of user co-creation.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
We have worked on numerous projects which have showcased how our platform provides an engaging, user friendly means to allow locals upload their own stories providing visitors with unique authentic experiences. This also helps to alleviate over tourism by allowing for self- discovery of off the beaten tracks "hidden gems". One such project which can be seen on our mobile app saw us visit St. Attracta's school in rural Ireland. Here we encouraged secondary school students to capture the stories of their ancestors and pin them to locations on the map. We got huge levels of students engagement and recorded some wonderful tales of fairies, hunchbacks, old cures and market fairs. This project was backed by a "Smart Villages" E.U programme. We have also recently completed a successful project called CorkVoices- which set out to capture the stories of local community, raising awareness of their projects and providing the public with a means to vote for where their public grant monies should go. Here we worked with diverse groups such as asylum/refugee groups, gay mens groups, Enterprise for DEAF, Cork Nature Network. The engagement were very high with over 55k impressions across twitter alone and 2.5k votes casts. This was the first participatory grant making project of it's kind in Ireland. We recently finished a project for Peace 4, where we gathered stories from the UK/Irish border region. These stories showcased the stories of the border region, the cross community workings and effects of the border on previous generations.
Sustainability and future plans
To make this platform sustainable, we obviously needed to connect to a market which could use these great stories and the Tourism/Travel sector was a natural fit. Our research shows us that among the top trended needs in travel today for visitors is the ability to self-discover authentic stories on mobile devices. There is a real disconnect between visitors and travel brands once in-destination. We provide a highly immersive, engaging and authentic means of digital engagement, connecting visitors back to travel brands as they explore a destination.# Our business model is a SaaS based B2B2C model. We provide the tech platform by rebranded our application to the clients needs and providing them with a out of the box solution to upload and host local stories which they can then use to connect their visitors back to their revenue streams. We charge for the custom build and annual licensing fees. Very exciting times for StoryTracks as we have just signed a contract to provide our mobile platform to the first Hyatt hotel to come to Ireland, this deal will also see us produces the platform for a Sheraton hotel- to have two major global hotel brands on our books is a major endorsement for our product at this stage. Moving forward we are currently raising seed funding which will allow us to scale our services quickly, flesh the team out with Sales/marketing departments and work on our next product iteration which will see us integrating AR to the platform- something we are very excited about!
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am a 40 year old entrepreneur with a background in visual storytelling. The first real exposure, I had to collecting oral stories, was during my time back home in Sligo, Ireland. At that time, I worked alongside my late father, Ted Nealon on the compilation and editing of Tales from the Dail Bar, his collection of yarns and anecdotes, from his career in broadcasting and politics. When he passed away five years ago, so many great tales went with him. Such is the case, multiplied across the country and indeed the world where stories lay dormant, gathering dust, perhaps lost to local memory forever. This was the initial inspiration behind StoryTracks, a user-friendly means to capture and preserve local stories in an engaging digital platform. Featured on Silicon Republic 's "Start-up of the Week", Nominated for Best Entrepreneurial Tourism Innovation at Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2019, Winner Top 10 E.U Startup at the Startup Lighthouse Awards 2019, Featured in Top 100 Irish Startups- Sunday Business Post/Enterprise Ireland, Featured as EBN (European Business Network) Entrepreneur of the Month (July 2019)