Ottawa Tourism and Algonquin College are doing their part to help Indigenous entrepreneurs interested in starting businesses in Ottawa’s tourism industry by launching the Indigenous Tourism Entrepreneurship Training program.
The new program is aimed at supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs to develop business planning skills and visitor readiness training for their tourism ideas.
The Government of Canada has provided Ottawa Tourism with $500,000 from the Canadian Experiences Fund, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario to develop the initiative with the college.
“This initiative is an important addition to Algonquin College’s robust offering of programs and training for Indigenous learners,” says Algonquin College’s Ron McLester, vice president of Truth, Reconciliation and Indigenization. “Together, we can provide Indigenous entrepreneurs and learners who are interested in starting their own tourism business with the tools necessary for success.”
The program will be offered through Algonquin College’s Discovery, Applied Research and Entrepreneurship as a 10-week program starting on September 29.
It will include online models and a wrap-up “pitch weekend” as part of its learning format, which Ottawa Tourism describes as “intensive.”
The initiative will provide business start-up skills training, market-readiness tools and access to Ottawa’s tourism ecosystem with the goal of supporting local Indigenous tourism business and motivating visitors and locals in Ottawa to engage with Indigenous culture.
Upon graduation, students will get a certificate of recognition from Algonquin College and Ottawa Tourism.
“Visitors to Ottawa are looking to connect with Canada’s soul, and an integral part of this is learning about Indigenous cultures,” says Michael Crockatt, Ottawa Tourism’s president and CEO. “Ottawa Tourism looks forward to supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs’ new tourism businesses and marketing those experiences to our visitors. Thanks to our partners, Algonquin College and FedDev Ontario, for making this happen.”
The program has been developed by Indigenous entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to ensure content is specific and tailored for Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs.
Teaching will also be offered in an Indigenous learning environment so that students can learn in the traditional ways through Indigenous ways of knowing (like storytelling) and interactions with guys speakers.
Participation is free for accepted students, thanks to the Canadian Experiences Fund.