The Spark Mentorship & Grants Program aims to foster and support new tourism ideas in London
TOURISM LONDON HAS announced the launch of the Spark Mentorship & Grants Program, a program which encourages individuals, small business and non-profit organizations to create new tourism ideas for the region.
The Spark Program matches selected applicants with a mentor and will provide a $3,000 grant to help take their tourism initiatives to the next level of development. The goal is to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps in products and services, motivate travel and increase visits year-round.
The program is a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab and the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport Tourism & Culture Industries, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Tourism London, Fanshawe Leap Junction, London Economic Development Corporation and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario.
According to the backing partners, innovation in the tourism industry is critical for the region to respond, adapt and recover from the significant impacts of the evolving travel landscape as the result of the Covid-19 health and economic crises.
“Tourism plays such a vital role in the economic well-being of our community. In London, we have a number of entrepreneurs and creative minds who we’re hoping will come forward with innovative ideas to grow the tourism industry in the Forest City,” says Cheryl Finn, Tourism London general manager. “This is a tremendous opportunity for mentorship and growth, and we look forward to seeing the unique tourism initiatives that come forward.”
Organizers are especially interested in new tourism ideas that connect with technology, celebrate our diverse communities, people, cultures and history, activate greenspace and waterways and establish multi-sector partnerships and collaborations.
“As a founding partner of the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, SWOTC is thrilled to collaborate on the London Spark program,” adds Jim Hudson, executive director, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation. “The program has already generated over 60 new tourism ideas in three southwest Ontario regions and connected nine tourism entrepreneurs with mentors, grants and other support. Congratulations, we have high expectations for continued spectacular achievements in London.”
Applications are being accepted until January 6, 2021, at tourisminnovation.ca/London. Following a review process, top applicants will be invited to a finalists’ pitch session where three winners will be selected.