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New program aids Indigenous entrepreneurs with tourism ideas

Ontario business owners urged to apply to Indigenous Tourism Skode Program
The Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current

A new provincial program wants to help Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs get their ideas off to a solid start.

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) and the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab are partnering to launch the Indigenous Tourism Skode (pronounced "Shkoh-deh" in Anishinaabemowin) Program.

Three applicants will be selected to participate and will receive a three-month mentorship with a tourism innovator, experienced operator, industry leader, and/or sector expert, as well as a $5,000 non-repayable contribution to help develop their tourism idea.

The program is open to Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs, businesses, community groups and non-profit organizations with ideas and experiences that authentically represent, celebrate and promote Indigenous culture, heritage, language, cuisine and communities in Ontario.

Participants must be a member of Indigenous Tourism Ontario, and the enterprise must be at least 51 per cent Indigenous-owned, operated and controlled.

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The program launched on April 27, and applicants have until May 28 to make their submissions.

Following the close of submission period, a jury of Indigenous tourism leaders, entrepreneurs and partner representatives will review the applications.

Finalists will present their ideas during a pitch session on June 17, and three ideas will be selected.

Full details about the program and eligibility criteria are available here.

Indigenous Tourism Ontario is an industry organization dedicated to growing Indigenous tourism in Ontario.