London Spark Program awards grants and mentorship to three local tourism innovators
Photo: Malvin Wright is one of three winners of the London Spark Mentorships and Grant Program award
THREE FINALISTS WHO made winning pitches for the London Spark Mentorships and Grant Program have been each awarded a $3,000 grant and a tourism mentorship to help take their new tourism ideas to the next level of development.
The London Spark 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.
The program’s goal is to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays and increase year-round visits in the region.
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After a review of the 19 applications submitted, the top five were invited to present their new tourism idea at a virtual pitch session held on February 3. A judging panel of partner representatives and a tourism innovator from outside the region selected the three winners.
The 2021 London Spark Program winners are:
Daniel Bennett and Lauren Rebelo, Curveball Creative: “Love Text” Street Art Projection Experience
Katelyn Landry, Fôrij Thrills: Rewilding Experiences/Events
Malvin Wright, Wright of Way Consultancy: African, Black Caribbean (ABC) Food Week
“We congratulate the three winners of the London Spark Program, and are excited to work with them to help develop new and exciting tourism initiatives in the region,” says Justin Lafontaine, program lead for the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab.
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“London is proud to be the home of many creative innovators and idea-makers who are passionate about launching new tourism ideas in the Forest City,” adds Cheryl Finn, general manager of Tourism London. “We would like to congratulate the three winners and all of applicants for sparking new tourism ideas. Our sector has been hard hit this past year. We are moved and inspired by the energy of the innovators and believe they will complement and help grow tourism in our region.”
In addition to a source of start-up funds and mentorship, selected applicants receive additional partner support and gain access to a network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders across the province.