​Are you a Black entrepreneur, Black-owned small business or Black-led non-profit or community group, live in Ontario’s Southwest, and have a new tourism idea?
​If so, we want to hear from you!

Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization, Southwestern Ontario Black Entrepreneurship Network, Empowerment Squared, WEtech Alliance, Libro Credit Union and the Tourism Innovation Lab have partnered to launch the Ontario’s Southwest Black Tourism “Spark” Program.

Whether you are an individual, a start-up or an established 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 Ontario’s Southwest Black Tourism “Spark” Program will match selected candidates with a tourism mentor and provide seed funds to help take their new tourism idea to the next level of development.

Our goal is to inspire Black entrepreneurs, Black-owned small businesses, and Black-led non-profit organizations and community groups in Ontario’s Southwest to come forward with creative ideas that will generate new tourism offerings and experiences, and help make the tourism sector more accessible, diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Apply now for Ontario’s Black Tourism “Spark” Program


The program includes:

  • Call out for applications from Black individuals, Black-owned small businesses, and Black-led non-profit organizations and community groups based in Ontario’s Southwest
  • Application reviews by a jury including local and provincial tourism leaders and entrepreneurs (majority of whom are Black)
  • Finalists’ Pitch Session (our friendly take on a tourism Dragon’s Den):
    • Save the date: Tuesday, January 9 @ 4:00-6:15pm (virtual)
  • Selection of 3 winning applicants in Round 1


  • 3 month mentorship with a tourism innovator, experienced operator, industry leader and/or sector expert
  • $3,000 in seed funds to support tourism idea development activities
  • $2,000 in tech adoption support and advisory services
  • Additional partner support and resources 
  • Access to a support network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders

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.

Interested in applying to the [RESION] “Spark” Program? Register for this online Info Session to learn more about the program, what we are looking for, and how to apply: 

Wednesday, November 8 at 11:30am – 12:30pm – REGISTER

Questions? Please contact:
Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab: info@tourisminnovation.ca

  • Black individuals 18+ who live in Ontario’s Southwest
  • Black-owned & operated small businesses based in Ontario’s Southwest (new and existing with up to 10 full-time year round employees)
  • Black-led non-profit organizations and community groups based in Ontario’s Southwest (new and existing with up to 10 full-time year round employees)


  • Black-owned small businesses are considered those that are majority (51%+) owned & operated by Black individuals.
  • – Black-led non-profit organizations and community groups that serve, support and celebrate the Black community in Ontario’s Southwest.
  • – Prospective applicants with direct representatives (e.g., owners, Board members) who are participating on the Ontario’s Southwest Black Tourism “Spark” Program review jury or pitch session judge panel are not eligible

Visit the Applicant’s Guide for more information


Learn More About

Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization
Southwestern Ontario Black Entrepreneurship Network (SWOBEN)