Program Supports 2SLGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs, Organizations

Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) and the Tourism Innovation Lab have announced the launch of a 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program in Southern Ontario.

The organizations are looking to spark new 2SLGBTQ+ led tourism ideas that will enhance Southern Ontario’s current tourism offerings, create high-quality tourism experiences, address gaps in tourism products and services, motivate longer stays and repeat visits, and increase year-round visits and tourism spending.

Through this work, they aspire to make the tourism sector more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

The 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Program will provide selected applicants with mentorship, $5,000 in services, and a CGLCC support package valued at over $1,500 to help them get started with their new tourism ideas.

Darrell Schuurman, CEO and Co-Founder, CGLCC, said: “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.”

Schuurman continued: “Additionally, we are happy to be contributing a support package for the three successful applicants, which includes 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.”

Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab, said: “The Tourism Innovation Lab has been working for the past 4 years to inspire and support new tourism ideas and innovators, and helping to make the sector more accessible, diverse and sustainable. We are thrilled to be launching a program in collaboration with Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce focused on the 2SLGBTQ+ community.”

Annemarie Shrouder, 2SLGBTQ+-identified entrepreneur and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisor, said: “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 folx don’t have the same access to capital, networks or resources to launch their ideas successfully. Initiatives like the 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Program can help.”

Applications will be accepted from Oct. 17 to Nov. 17, 2022 from self-identified 2SLGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, 2SLGBTQ+ majority owned & operated small businesses, and 2SLGBTQ+ focused non-profit organizations and community groups Following a juried review process, finalists will be invited to a Pitch Session where three winners will be selected.

Organizers are hosting two Info Sessions for prospective applicants:

Info Session #1: Oct. 19 @ 5:00-5:45pm – Registration Link

Info Session #2: Nov. 8 @ 11:30am-12:15pm – Registration Link

For more information on the 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Program, go to