THE COUNTIES, Ontario - The second round of a program aimed at sparking and supporting innovative tourism ideas for Akwesasne, Cornwall and SDG Counties was officially announced today at an event held at the Cornwall Pop-up Market.
The “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program matches selected applicants from the region with a tourism mentor and provide a $3,000 grant to help take their new tourism idea to the next level of development.
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. Previous participants were selected for local food tours, an agritourism destination, and cultural & culinary experiences.
“Our tourism assets in SDG are part of the fuel that drives the economic engine in our region. Entrepreneurs and business owners add to the successes our region enjoys through their hard work and dedication. I encourage those who may be planning a new expansion this year, or introducing a new tourism-based business, to engage the Spark Mentorships and Grants Program to help with that process,” said Allan Armstrong, Warden of SDG Counties.
Applications are encouraged from entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profit organizations based in Akwesasne, Cornwall and SDG Counties from Sept. 29 to Nov. 5, 2021. Following a review process, the top applicants will be invited to a Pitch Session where three winners will be selected.
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.
The Akwesasne, Cornwall & SDG Counties “Spark” Program is being led by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Cornwall Tourism, Cornwall Tourism Development Fund, SDG Counties, and the Tourism Innovation Lab.
“We are pleased to continue to partner with our neighbors to enhance and support local tourism. Our region is a vast multicultural region, and we pride ourselves on the many small businesses in our communities”, said Abram Benedict, Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.
“I am proud to support such a collaborative, and innovative program, that is sure to bring new ideas and life to Cornwall, Akwesasne and the SDG Counties” shares Cornwall Mayor, Glen Grant. “This program is a great way to focus on the tourism industry in a time that has been particularly hard for tourism-based businesses. I am eager to see what new initiatives may come from the program.”
“We had the pleasure of collaborating with our partners to support our first round “Spark” winners from Cornwall & SDG Counties”, said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead of the Tourism Innovation Lab. “We are excited to welcome the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne as a partner this year, and to see the new tourism ideas that will come forward to further enhance the region’s tourism offerings and drive innovation.”
For more information on the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program, application guide and Info Sessions visit www.tourisminnovation.ca/ACSDG.