The CEDC Tourism Product Development Fund (formerly known as the CEDC MAT Product Development Fund) provides support to projects that enhance Thunder Bay’s tourism economy. The fund focuses on projects that create new visitor experiences and enhance existing experiences.


Product Development Streams

  1. Planning: Support for feasibility studies and strategic plans that investigate the potential for the development of new and enhanced visitor experiences.
  2. Ventures: Business ideas or concepts for new tourism experiences or the expansion of existing operations.
  3. Capital Enhancements for Future Event Hosting: Support for facility upgrades and equipment, machinery, and furniture purchases.

*Operating support is not being considered at this time.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the CEDC Tourism Product Development Fund are to support projects that demonstrate a capacity to achieve one or more of these objectives:

  1. Attract out-of-town visitors to the City of Thunder Bay.
  2. Increase the length of visitor stays in Thunder Bay;
  3. Increase visitor spending while in Thunder Bay;
  4. Enhance Thunder Bay’s image as an attractive and appealing four-season destination;
  5. Leverage partnerships and financial resources.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

The CEDC Tourism Product Development Fund will fund up to a maximum of 33% of the total project if the following requirements are met:

  • The applicant is a legal entity that is able to enter into a funding agreement. Both not-for-profit and for-profit entities are eligible to apply, an equity investment may be required for for-profit entities.
  • The applicant contributes at least 10% personal equity.
  • The project must positively contribute to the growth and sustainability of Thunder Bay’s tourism economy by:
    • Filling a gap in the current visitor experience landscape;
    • Enhancing a current visitor experience offering;
    • Supporting overnight accommodation growth;
    • Creating or retaining employment opportunities within the tourism sector;
    • Supporting the growth of Thunder Bay as a four seasons visitor destination;
    • Expand US and International travel markets to Thunder Bay; and
    • Demonstrate a financially sustainable business model.
  • The applicant should apply a minimum of 90 days out from the date of their event and 120 days out for spectator or significant events.

*This will allow lead-time for evaluation of potential funding and if approved, ensure the logistics and marketing required to attract out-of-town visitors.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

To apply for the funding, the applicant must provide:

  • An application outlining the project details;
  • Documentation verifying the status of business or organization as a legal entity;
  • The most recent year-end financial statements;
  • A business and marketing plan;
  • A budget detailing all anticipated event revenues and expenses to establish setup and operation of the project;
  • A three-year cash flow statements of the projected revenue and expenses to show the sustainability of the project.

 Additional optional documents that may strengthen the application include;

  • Additional year-end financial statements;
  • Tourism related letters of support for the project and/or letters of partnership for the project from local hotels, attractions, or other tourism entities;
  • Executed lease agreements;
  • Documentation of established Stay-and-Play packages and/or hotel blocks booked;
  • Submission of relevant studies or published reports that support the project;
  • Documentation of quotes for project;
  • Floor plans of the proposed project;
  • Samples of marketing content for the project;
  • Relevant metrics or data collection for the project.
 ADDITIONAL FUNDING CONSIDERATIONS

The CEDC Tourism Product Development Fund is a discretionary program with a limited funding allocation. In some cases, a project may meet all program criteria but may not be approved for funding as other projects may more effectively meet the criteria. Other considerations include:

  • Marketing and advertising targeting out-of-town markets and attracting out-of-town visitors.
  • Funding may be allocated based on the number of out-of-town visitors attracted and/or the number of room nights generated.
  • The profile of the project and the exposure for the city that the event will create.
 APPLY NOW 

Click on the link below to briefly tell us about your project and how it will attract visitors to Thunder Bay.

CEDC Tourism Product Development Fund – Short Form Application

Completed applications will be submitted by email to:
John Cameron
Tourism Development Officer
Thunder Bay CEDC – Tourism
34 Cumberland St. N.
Thunder Bay, ON, P7A 4L4
E: John.Cameron@thunderbay.ca
P: 807-625-3231

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What is the application process?

Application intake is continual throughout the year. Applicants first use the Short Form Application to briefly outline details of the project and how it will attract out-of-town visitors.

Upon receipt of the short form application, CEDC Tourism Thunder Bay staff will conduct a preliminary assessment. Once this assessment has been completed our staff will contact you directly to outline next steps, provide a more detailed application form, and answer any questions you make have. During the process of completing the detailed application, form applicants are encouraged to work with the CEDC team to ensure application completeness.

What are eligible and ineligible expenses?

ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

Examples include:
• Planning consultants;
• Engineering and architectural costs;
• Building permit and associated fees;
• Legal costs directly related to the project;
• Construction and renovation costs;
• Project management costs related to project;
• Utilities related to the capital project;
• Salaries and wages related directly to the planning or capital project

INELIGIBLE EXPENSES
Examples include:
• Entertainment and alcohol;
• Costs associated with prizes, contesting and lotteries; and
• Political contributions.

Who decides if the application is approved?

The detailed application, with an event budget and other required supporting documents is given to the Tourism Investment Committee (TIC) for review and evaluation. The applicant will be required to provide a brief presentation of the application to the committee and answer any questions the committee may have. The TIC can approve funding requests up to $50,000 and is generally scheduled to meet on a monthly basis.

If the amount requested it over the $50,000 the TIC will refer the application with its recommendations to Board of Directors of the Thunder Bay CEDC for final approval. The CEDC Board also generally meets on a monthly basis.

 What are the next steps if approved for funding?

Applications approved for funding by the Tourism Investment Committee (TIC) or the CEDC Board of Directors will require the applicant to enter into a legal funding agreement with the Thunder Bay CEDC. The applicant must be a legal entity and will be required to provide documentation for banking and insurance purposes to complete the agreement.

The agreement will provide provisions on how funding will be paid out, the reporting requirements, and potential payback of funds once the event is complete. In all cases, there will be a holdback of funds contingent on a final report.

The applicant must submit a final report within 90-days after completion of the project. The report must outline how the funding was spent on eligible expenses and that all the tourism deliverables were met. The report should include details on the number of visitors, room nights for overnight stays and accommodations used, length of stay per visitors, number of partnerships developed, construction and permanent jobs created, financial resources leveraged, value of earned media, and visitor satisfaction ratings.

 Can the Thunder Bay Tourism team assist in marketing the event?

Approved applicants will have the opportunity to meet with the Tourism Thunder Bay marketing team to discuss the marketing plan to attract out-of-town visitors and other opportunities to promote the event using the Tourism Thunder Bay brand, website, and social media channels.  

     

 

 

Contact Us

John Cameron
Tourism Development Officer
807-625-3231
Email