Local Tourism Innovators Awarded “Spark” Grants and Mentorship
Windsor, ON – Three finalists who made winning pitches for the second round of the Windsor Essex “Spark” Program were each awarded a $3,000 grant and a tourism mentorship to help take their new tourism ideas to the next level of development.
The “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program is a partnership between the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, Libro Credit Union and WEtech Alliance. Its 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.
The top five applicants to the Windsor Essex “Spark” Program were invited to present their new tourism idea at a virtual Pitch Session held on January 14th. A judge panel of partner representatives and a tourism innovator from outside the region selected the three winning applicants.
The 2021 Windsor Essex “Spark” Program winners are:
- Billy Alexander, Caldwell First Nation – Providing hands-on, culinary experiences that focus on Indigenous food, culture and community.
- Corey Robertson, The Bank Theatre – Point Pelee National Park will act as a new stage for local actors who will provide Spirit Walks or stories to visitors about our various cultures and combine them with related experiences.
- Leslie Meloche, Walnut Grove B&B – Having a sommelier-guided experience that provides tastings of local wines (of the same varietal) paired with locally sourced tapas/cuisine.
In addition to a source of start-up funds and mentorship, selected applicants gain access to a network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders across the province.
Innovation in the tourism industry is critical for the region to respond, adapt and recover from the significant impacts and evolving travel landscape as a result of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.