"Spark" Program: Mentorships & Grants
Whether you are an individual, a start-up or an established micro/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 innovation mentor and provide a source of financial support to help take your great new tourism idea to the next level of development or implementation.
THE 2018 "SPARK" PROGRAM APPLICATION PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED.
STAY TUNED FOR 2019 UPDATES.
The program application includes:
Selected applicants/program participants will receive:
All program applicants will be invited to join our "Spark" community of tourism innovators, idea makers, partners and supporters for special networking events, one-on-one's, and development workshops.
"Spark" Program Application Guide
Who Can Apply?
Individuals (18 years and older), micro/small businesses (0-10 employees) and non-profit organizations (0-10 employees) based in the City of Windsor and/or the County of Essex are eligible to apply in 2018. If your business or non-profit organization has more than 10 employees, you can apply as an individual or partner with a micro/small business or non-profit organization with 10 employees or less.
What Are We Looking For?
We are looking for new, early stage, start-up tourism experiences, product ideas and/or collaborative partnerships that will make tourism in Windsor Essex more accessible, diverse and competitive. Your idea should address one or more of the following:
What Is A “Tourism” Idea?
Experiences, products and partnerships that motivate travel to Windsor Essex by people living more than 40km away, across the border or internationally, and provide engagement, participation, purchasing and/or travel related opportunities while they are visiting the region.
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)
2018 "Spark" Program Application
How to Apply?
Submit a 1,000 word maximum document to firstname.lastname@example.org with responses to each of the following 8 questions:
1. Contact information (name, phone number, email, organization name, website)
2. Tell us about yourself, your micro/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?
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.
In addition to the application document, please include a file or link to a 1 minute maximum unedited, unproduced video introducing yourself, your micro/small business, or non-profit organization. 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.
Applications are being accepted from June 12 to August 1, 2018 via email@example.com. Emails will be sent to confirm receipt of all applications. If you do not receive a confirmation email, send another email or call 226-946-6016 to make sure we received your application. Applications submitted after August 1, 2018 will not be accepted or reviewed. All review jury decisions are final and cannot be appealed.
August 1, 2018 – Application submission deadline
August – Application review period
Early September – Review jury meeting held to select top applicants / finalists
Mid-September – Finalists invited to attend the Pitch Session in October 2018
October – Pitch Session held during the Ontario Tourism Innovators Roundtable; 3 applicants will be selected to participate in the mentorship program and will each receive a $3,000 grant
October-January – 3 month mentorship program period
January 2019 – Participant Progress Reports and Program Evaluations due
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 Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab (c/o Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island) may collect the personal information contained herein within the application review process. Your application will be kept confidential during the review period.
Community Information Sessions
Would you like to host a "Spark" Program Community Information Session for your members, clients or stakeholders in Windsor Essex? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a session.
Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab
c/o Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island
333 Riverside Drive West, Suite 103
Windsor, ON N9A 7C5
226-946-6016 / 416-712-8819