The 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Program Launches in Southern Ontario


WINDSOR, Ont. — Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) and the Tourism Innovation Lab have launched the 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program in Southern Ontario. The program provides selected applicants with mentorship, $5,000 in services and a CGLCC support package valued at more than $1,500 to help them with their new tourism ideas.

The organizations intend to spark new 2SLGBTQ+-led tourism ideas to enhance Southern Ontario’s current tourism offerings by creating high-quality tourism experiences and addressing gaps in tourism products and services. This will motivate longer stays and repeat visits and increase year-round visits and tourism spending, making the tourism sector more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Applications will be accepted until Nov. 17 from self-identified 2SLGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, 2SLGBTQ+ majority owned and operated small businesses and 2SLGBTQ+-focused non-profit organizations. Community groups are invited to a Pitch Session where three winners will be selected following a juried review process.

“The CGLCC is committed to ensuring the Canadian economy is inclusive and accessible for 2SLGBTQ+ business owners. We are beyond excited to be working with the Tourism Innovation Lab on this “Spark” Program for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals in Southern Ontario; it aligns closely with our mission of championing 2SLGBTQ+ businesses in Canada,” says Darrell Schuurman, CEO and co-founder, CGLCC. “We are happy to contribute support through our Rainbow Registered 2SLGBTQ+ Safe Space accreditation program, our 2SLGBTQ+ diversity & inclusion training offerings, and more resources aimed at helping the winning ideas flourish.”

“The Tourism Innovation Lab has been working for the past four years to inspire and support new tourism ideas and innovators and help to make the sector more accessible, diverse and sustainable,” says Justin Lafontaine, program lead of the Tourism Innovation Lab. “We are thrilled to launch a program in collaboration with Canada’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce focused on the 2SLGBTQ+ community.”

“Supporting people from marginalized communities speaks to the CGLCC and Tourism Innovation Lab’s shared commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. The fact is that many marginalized folks don’t have the same access to capital, networks or resources to launch their ideas successfully. Initiatives like the 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Program can help,” says Annemarie Shrouder, 2SLGBTQ+-identified entrepreneur and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion advisor.

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