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A call to action for tourism providers asking them what their next big tourism idea is.
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Spark 2021

The "Spark" Program will match selected candidates with a tourism mentor and provide a source of financial support to help take your great new tourism idea to the next level of development or implementation. Three winners from Chatham-Kent will be selected and will receive the following:

  • 3-month mentorship with a tourism innovator, experienced operator, industry leader and/or sector expert.
  • $3,000 "Spark" grant to support tourism idea development activities.
  • Access to a support network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders.
  • Ongoing guidance on other resources, and additional funding and in-kind support provided by program partners, including:
    • One recipient will receive a Digital Services Support Package provided by WEtech Alliance and Digital Main Street. For more information please visit the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab's website.
    • All Chatham-Kent Round 2 Finalists will receive in-kind vouchers from SOAR Innovation for complimentary rentals of hot desks at their Chatham campus. 

Who Can Apply?

  • Individuals 18+ who live and/or work in Chatham-Kent
  • Small businesses (up to 10 FT employees) based in Chatham-Kent
  • Small non-profit organizations and community groups (up to 10 FT employees) based in Chatham-Kent


What Are We Looking For?

We are looking for new tourism experiences, product ideas and/or collaborative partnerships based in Chatham-Kent that address one or more of the following:

  • Enhances current tourism offerings
  • Creates new, high-quality tourism experiences
  • Addresses gaps in tourism products and services
  • Motivates travel, longer stays and repeat visits
  • Increases year-round visitation and tourism spending

NOTE: While there are no specific categories, we are especially interested in new tourism ideas that connect with one or more of Chatham-Kent's Tourism Destination Management Plan tiers:  Agri/Culinary Tourism, Angling, Black History, Culture (Visual/Performing), First Nations and War of 1812, Meeting & Conventions, Small Towns, Villages & Rural Landscapes. As well as tourism ideas that are enabled by technology, incorporate sustainability principles, celebrate diversity, adapt to the evolving travel landscape, and build future resilience. 

Virtual Information Sessions:

Key Dates of Note: 
  • Application due Friday, March 5 (11:59 p.m.)
  • Pitch Session (tentative) Tuesday, March 30 

Application Details

Submit a 1,000 word maximum document with responses to each of the following 9 questions:
1. Contact information (name, phone number, email, organization name, website)
2. Tell us about yourself, your small business or non-profit organization.
3. What's your new tourism idea?
4. How is your idea innovative or unique?
5. What stage are you at with your idea?
6. Who are your target market(s) and/or partner(s)?
7. How will technology enable your idea? 
8. How would you utilize the "Spark" mentorship and grant funds if selected?
9. What are your hoped for outcomes and impacts?

In addition to the application document, please include a file or link to a 1 minute maximum unedited, unproduced video introducing yourself, your small business, or non-profit organization, and your new tourism idea. 

Submit your application to info@tourisminnovation.ca by March 5, 2021 at 11:59pm and include "Chatham-Kent" in the subject line. Emails will be sent within 24 hours to confirm receipt of all applications. If you do not receive a confirmation email, send another email or call 1-844-455-0325 toll-free / 416-712-8819 to make sure we received your application. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted or reviewed.

For more information please visit the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab website.  

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