Three finalists who made winning pitches for the London “Spark” Mentorships and Grant 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 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.

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 3rd. A judge 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 3 winners of the London “Spark” Program, and are excited to work with them to help develop new and exciting tourism initiatives in the region.

Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab.

“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,” says 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.

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.

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