Sault Ste. Marie, ON – A special edition of the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program was launched today to help small tourism businesses in Northern Ontario respond, recover and build future resilience from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small tourism businesses based in Northern Ontario are encouraged to submit applications with innovative ideas on how they could re-imagine their tourism offerings, products and services to attract new markets and visitors. Examples include developing new tourism experiences, buying equipment to offer new programming, creating new digital platforms and delivery models, and enhancing current tourism offerings.
The program is a partnership between Destination Northern Ontario, Tourism Excellence North, and the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, building on two previous rounds of the “Spark” Program in Northeastern and Northwestern Ontario.
Applications will be accepted from February 16th to March 19th, 2021. Selected applicants will each receive a $3,000 grant, be matched with a tourism mentor and an in-kind bundle of support services from Tourism Excellence North valued at up to $9,500.
The application requires submitting a 1000-word maximum response to eight questions and a one-minute introduction video. A Dragon’s Den style pitch session, with a jury of local and provincial tourism leaders will be held virtually to select three winners and three runner ups.
Full program details and the application guide are available here
“Innovation is key to industry competitiveness and success. It is more important now than ever to enable the region’s tourism entrepreneurs, businesses and operators to respond, adapt and recover as a result of the global COVID-19 crisis” said David MacLachlan, Executive Director, Destination Northern Ontario.
“With this special edition “Spark” Program, our aim is to inspire and support new tourism ideas and innovations that will help existing small businesses expand their offerings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead of the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab.