What's New IN THE LAb
APRIL 2022

Updates

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast "Spark" Winners!

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Congratulations to our Cariboo Chilcotin Coast "Spark" Program winners who were selected at a virtual pitch session held on March 22nd:

- Alex Bracewell (Bracewell Alpine Wilderness Adventures)
- Cheryl Macarthy & Dave Jorgenson (Historic Stays)
- Erin Yeo & Kelly Servinski (Tutti Gravel Inn)

Each will receive a $3,000 seed grant, mentorship, plus additional partner support to help take their tourism initiatives and businesses to the next level.

Thanks to all of our finalists for making their pitch! We look forward to working with all of them to support the development of exciting new tourism experiences and offerings in British Columbia.

Indigenous Tourism BC "Spark" Winners!

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Congratulations to our Indigenous Tourism BC "Spark" Program winners who were selected at a virtual pitch session held in February:

- Chelsea Jones (Dug Out Canoes)
- Dora Demers (Big Bar Guest Ranch)
- Ryan Leask (Wyld North Outfitters)

Each will receive a $5,000 seed grant, mentorship, plus additional partner support to help take their Indigenous tourism initiatives and businesses to the next level.

Thanks to Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism BC and TD Bank for making this program possible. Stay tuned for updates on our winners' progress.

ONTARIO

Simcoe County "Spark" Program launched!

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The Lab and our partners Tourism Simcoe County and Regional Tourism Organization 7 (Bruce Grey Simcoe) officially announced the Simcoe County "Spark" Mentorships & Grants Program this week!

Entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits are encouraged to come forward with creative ideas that will generate new tourism opportunities, offerings, experiences and partnerships in the region.

Selected applicants will receive a $3,000 seed grant, mentorship and additional partner support to help them get started with their new tourism ideas.

Thanks to Ontario MPP Jill Dunlop and Simcoe County Deputy Warden Lynn Dollin for joining us at the virtual launch!

Register for an upcoming Info Session (webinar) to learn more about the Simcoe County "Spark" Program, how to apply, and to ask questions live:

Info Session #1: Thursday, April 21 @ 5:00-5:45pm
Info Session #2: Tuesday, May 3 @ 11:30am-12:15pm

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Haldimand & Norfolk "Spark" Winners!

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The Lab held two back-to-back "Spark" pitch sessions for both Haldimand County and Norfolk County in February, congratulations to all of the winners!

Haldimand County "Spark" winners:
- Dan Megna & Laurie Lilliman (Twisted Lemon)
- Jessica Carpio (Bluewater Flower Farm)
- Nancy Van Sas (Ruthven Park)

Norfolk County "Spark" winners:
- Brooke Martin (Norfolk’s Bounty: A Picnic Experience)
- Hannah & Cliff Lawrance (Glamping Accommodations)
- Marshall Collins (Collins Harbour Marina)

All will receive a $3,000 seed grant, mentorship, plus additional partner support to help them get started with their new tourism initiatives.

​Thanks to our review juries, pitch session judge panels and partners Haldmand County Tourism, Tourism Norfolk, Ontario's Southwest, Libro Credit Union, Grand Erie Business Centre and Venture Norfolk for making this program possible!

Round 2 Indigenous Tourism Skode Program Winners!

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Congratulations to our 2022 Skode Program winners who successfully pitched their new Indigenous tourism ideas on March 29th:

- Caley Patrick Doran (Take-A-Hike Trail Guide)
- Kevin Lamarr, Mandi Montour & Sarah Yankoo (INDIGiMaps)
- Norm Dokis (Camp Petawachuan)

Each will receive a $5,000 non-repayable financial contribution, mentorship, plus additional Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) and partner support to advance their Indigenous tourism initiatives and businesses to the next level.

Miigwech, Nia:wen, Maarsi, Thank You to all of our Skode finalists for making their pitch! We look forward to working with them to support the development of exciting new Indigenous tourism experiences and offerings in Ontario. Stay tuned for updates on their progress.

Thanks to our review jury, pitch session judge panel and program partners FedDev Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and TD Bank making this second round of the Skode Program possible.

Tourism + Tech: C3Tech Initiative

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In February 2022, our parent organization Hackforge launched C3Tech in collaboration with The City of Windsor Bicycle Committee, the County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS), and local technology consulting firm Parallel 42 Systems. The Tourism Innovation Lab is excited to support and collaborate on this initiative that will create digital tools to enhance cycle tourism development, planning and navigation in our home region of Windsor Essex. 

Short for “City-County Cycling Technology,” C3Tech aims to leverage open source software to create digital tools that will make navigating Windsor and Essex County by bike safer, easier, and more fulfilling. The starting points for these tools are currently available at WindsorEssexCycling.ca, and are based on CyclOSM and BRouter.

Starting May 1, 2022, Hackforge is hosting a month-long hackathon, during which individuals and teams will develop proof-of-concept versions of their ideas. Experts in various disciplines will be available to assist and advise teams as they complete their projects.

Hackathon Registration is now open! Complete this form​ to express your interest in participating!

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Partner Event

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Are you an operator or an organization in the tourism industry?
Are you currently experiencing challenges attracting and retaining talent

Don’t miss SÉO’s free workshop with Frederic Gonzalo on April 11th, 2022, from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.

"SMEs : Best practices with HR Marketing to mitigate the shortage of labour"

While labour shortages are today's reality, having an HR Marketing Strategy is key to your business' success. But what exactly is HR Marketing, why is it so important and how does it tie to successful recruitment and retention of employees?

Key workshop points:

- National overview of the labour shortage prevalent in the tourism industry today
- The basics of HR Marketing : positioning, employer branding, segmenting and targeting employees on social media
- Crafting a communication plan: choosing the right platforms, types of content, frequency, tone and manner; who does what; and much more!

Register here. Can’t attend the webinar on April 11? Please register regardless of your ability to participate so they can send you a link to the recording.

Ontario LGBT+ Tourism Survey

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The Ontario LGBT+ advisory team is developing a strategy to enhance Ontario’s status as a destination for LGBT+ travellers. Please complete the survey and share with your networks and contacts who may be able to give input; the industry's and other allied voices will be instrumental to the development of this strategy which will guide decisions on LGBT+ product for Ontario.

Click here to complete the survey.

More "Spark" Regions coming in 2022

The "Spark" Mentorships & Grants Program​ will be expanding to new regions in British Columbia and Ontario 2022. Stay tuned for announcements. 

Building Mentorship in Canada's Tourism Sector

Are you a recognized tourism innovator, successful entrepreneur, experienced operator and/or sector expert?


​Join our "Spark" Mentor Network and support up-and-coming and early stage tourism innovators in Canada by providing advice and guidance to help them take their new tourism ideas to the next level of development. Contact us at info@tourisminnovation.ca​ for more information on the program and how you can be a mentor.

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