HALDIMAND & NORFOLK “Spark" Mentorships & Grants Program
Do you have a new tourism idea for Haldimand & Norfolk? If so, we want to hear from you!
Whether you are an individual, a start-up or an established small business or non-profit organization, there can be many challenges and barriers to bringing a new tourism idea, experience or partnership to fruition.
We want to help. The "Spark" Program will match selected candidates with a tourism mentor and provide a source of financial support to help take your new tourism idea to the next level of development.
Our goal is to inspire residents, entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profit organizations based in Haldimand County and Norfolk County to come forward with creative ideas that will generate new tourism opportunities, offerings, experiences and partnerships in the region.
The program includes:
Call out for applications from individuals, small businesses and non-profits
Application reviews by a jury including local and provincial tourism innovators and leaders
Finalists' Pitch Sessions (our friendly take on a tourism Dragon's Den):
Haldimand County: February 15 @ 4:00-6:30pm
Norfolk County: February 17 @ 4:00-6:30pm
Selection of winning applicants:
3 from Haldimand County
3 from Norfolk County
Selected applicants will receive:
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
Additional support and resources provided by program partners
All program applicants will be invited to join our "Spark" community of tourism innovators, partners and supporters for special networking events, one-on-one's, and development workshops.
APPLICATION DEADLINE IS JANUARY 14, 2022 Register for an upcoming Info Session below.
Haldimand & Norfolk “Spark" Application Guide
Who Can Apply?
Individuals 18+ who live/work in Haldimand & Norfolk
Small businesses (up to 10 FT year round employees) based in Haldimand & Norfolk
Small non-profit organizations and community groups (up to 10 FT year round employees) based in Haldimand & Norfolk
NOTE: *Interested entrepreneurs, small businesses or non-profit organizations from outside Haldimand-Norfolk are encouraged to partner/collaborate with one that is eligible based in Haldimand & Norfolk (ie. who would be the lead applicant).
What Are We Looking For? We are looking for new tourism ideas for Haldimand & Norfolk 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: *Tourism ideas must be based in and benefit Haldimand County and/or Norfolk County. *While there are no specific categories, we are especially interested in new tourism ideas that connect with agritourism, cycling, waterfront, and the winter season. *Applicants based in one County are eligible to apply with a tourism idea for the other County. Applicants must note the County that their tourism idea will be primarily based in when submitting their application (ie. Haldimand County or Norfolk County).
What Is A “Tourism” Idea? Experiences, products and partnerships that motivate travel to your region by people living more than 40km away, across the provincial border or internationally, and provide engagement, participation, purchasing and/or travel related opportunities while they are visiting.
What Do We Mean By “New / Early Stage / Start Up”? Tourism experiences, products and partnerships that are in the ideation stage, have just been created, are under development, or have been promoted/offered publicly for 6 months or less.
Other “Tourism” Definitions and Examples Experiences: Opportunities for visitors to engage, participate, interact, learn and explore in a region to get a local understanding and broader awareness of a destination, often combining different elements (eg. farmers market tour followed by a culinary class led by a local chef). Products: Buyable goods and services related to tourism in the region (eg. accommodations, attractions, tours, ticketed events, travel packages and other tourism bundles). Collaborative Partnerships: Two or more businesses/organizations working together to promote and/or deliver a new tourism related experience or product (eg. Metro Zoo + Cycling Group = “Jungle Ride” event).
“Spark" Program Application
How to Apply? Submit a 1,000 word maximum document with responses to each of the following 8 questions: (Copy and paste these questions into a word document and provide a response for each, keeping the full application document to 1,000 words or less.)
1. Contact information (name, phone number, email, business/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 would you utilize the “Spark” mentorship and grant funds if selected? 8. 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. For example, use your smart phone to take the video, and then upload it to a file sharing service (eg. Dropbox, Google Docs) or a publicly accessible video sharing website such as YouTube (if you don’t want other people to find it, mark it as unlisted) and include the file or link in your email with your application document.
IMPORTANT: Both the 1,000 word maximum document and 1 minute maximum video are required for a complete application submission. Incomplete applications or applications that are above the maximum word/time limits will not be reviewed.
Application Submission Please submit your application to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 14, 2022 at 11:59pm and include either "Haldimand County" or "Norfolk County" in the subject line, depending on where your new tourism idea will be primarily based.
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.
Your Application and Personal Information By submitting an application you agree that all of the information contained in your application is complete and accurate. You also consent that the Tourism Innovation Lab and its partners may collect the personal information contained herein within the application review process. Your application will be kept confidential during the review period. All review jury and judge panel decisions are final and cannot be appealed.
“Spark" Program Info Sessions
Interested in applying to the Haldimand & Norfolk "Spark" Program? Register for an upcoming Info Session (webinar) to learn more:
Info Session #1: Tuesday, November 30 @ 5:00-5:45pm - REGISTER Info Session #2: Wednesday, December 15 @ 11:30am-12:15pm - REGISTER Info Session #3: Wednesday, January 5 @ 5:00-5:45pm - REGISTER