Indigenous Tourism Ontario and the Tourism Innovation Lab have partnered to present another round of the Indigenous Tourism Skode Program in Ontario, and the deadline to apply for the $20,000 grand prize is February 13, 2023.
Skode (pronounced shkoh-deh) means fire in Anishinaabemowin, and organizers want applicants “to share the fire within your heart” while helping to light a fire that will accelerate your tourism business plans.
As for what qualifies to apply, organizers explained that “Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs, businesses, community groups and non-profits are encouraged to bring forward new tourism ideas and experiences that authentically represent, celebrate and promote Indigenous culture, heritage, language, cuisine and communities in Ontario.”
The Skode accepts applicants from both Southern and Northern Ontario, however, your application will compete against others within the region you apply from, north or south. If your idea is accepted, and a jury of Indigenous tourism leaders and entrepreneurs will make that judgement, you will have the chance to pitch your concept, virtually, on March 1st.
Organizers refer to that phase as “our very friendly take on a tourism Dragon’s Den,” and after those pitches are made, six winners will be chosen—three from the south and three from the north. All six of these Skode Program winner will then be invited to attend a live pitch session on March 15, at the Little NHL Tournament in Mississauga.
The winner of that tourism showdown will win the grand prize of $20,000 to go towards their business. However, those six contenders don’t go away empty handed. If chosen for that final six, you’ll receive $5,000 to support your Indigenous tourism idea, a three-month mentorship from industry leaders, and access to a support network of “tourism innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders.”
For more information, and to apply, visit the Skode program’s website.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.