Santander Internships stories: the journey to extraordinary destinations

posted in: Entrepreneurship | 0

Brilliant Ethiopia and Brilliant Uganda aim to help travellers see Africa as it is, in its resplendent glory, chaos and wonder. We want to tread a delicate balance – between witnessing places as they are, ensuring people experiencing the wonders and enabling people to feel comfortable doing so – and helping improve areas that need it.

Humans travel so as to explore, gain perspective and better understand our world and ourselves in its rich diversity. As such our aim at Brilliant Africa is to have you return home having seen, explored and felt like it was the best travel experience of your life.

The journey

Marc Christensen

Brilliant Africa started as a three month summer internship. Back in 2017, I was looking for roles within startups over the summer before my final year at university. I found a listing on the university careers website that looked interesting, and after an interview I began a 2 month research project that went on to become Brilliant Africa. We launched in September, and by the end of the month had made our first booking. Three years later and we have made over £1M in turnover, and sent hundreds of travellers to Ethiopia and Uganda.

Since then we have received support through the Santander SME Internships Programme. The initiative has provided crucial funding for an intern. The most exciting entrepreneurial roles often come from micro-companies or solo founders that don’t have big budgets. The finance provided helps small companies innovate, grow, and recruit.

The impact of COVID-19

Like all travel companies, we have been forced to deal with a temporary collapse in our market. Fortunately, we’ll be able to weather the storm, but the crisis has given us time to reflect on our journey so far and plan for the future of travel.

As a company specialising in African travel, we understand that it can be extremely difficult to find local experts on the ground, and when you do, to be confident enough to put down thousands for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

From our experience, local operators on the ground vary tremendously in both scope and quality of operations. It has taken us years to find the people who really know what they are doing, and who we can rely on to deliver extraordinary experiences for our travellers. Our goal is to provide customers with the tools and information they need to make the best choices when planning their African adventure. The better we do this, the better we can support our partners and continue to promote these extraordinary destinations.

“What does the traveller of 2030 look like, and what can we do now to be in the best position to serve them?” – this the core question COVID-19 has forced us to examine.

Brilliant Africa supported by the Santander Universities SME Internship programme. The venture is currently looking for talented people to join their team and continue their journey to becoming a successful travel company. Find out more about the Santander SME Internships Programme >

Marc Christensen
Marc Christensen is an Economics graduate and founder of Brilliant Ethiopia and Brilliant Uganda. These companies aim to provide the most knowledgeable and passionate regional experts with extraordinarily fulfilling work: delighting customers and building wonderful, deep relationships with local guides and operators. Before Brilliant, Marc founded a language exchange platform connecting foreign language students in engaging topics of conversation.

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