Indigenous Tourism Start Up Program launched, to support indigenous businesses get underway. Apply by May 31.

Are you an Indigenous community member interested in launching an Indigenous tourism business? Do you need some help developing your business concept?

Applications are now invited for an all-expenses paid new Indigenous Tourism Start-Up Program, just launched by the Squamish Lil̓wat Cultural Centre and the Whistler Centre for Sustainably. Thanks to funding from the province of BC’s Rural Dividend program, all program costs are covered for participants in the June – October program. Up to 12 applicants will be selected, and matched with a mentor to help them fully develop their business concept.

Interested applicants should fill in the attached form and email by 5pm May 31.

ITSP Application

More information at:

Indigenous Tourism Start Up Poster

Individuals from local Indigenous communities from Lillooet to the Fraser Valley are invited to participate in this program, that builds on the successful Squamish Lil’wat St’at’imc Business Start-up Program (2018) and the three-years-in-the -running Social Venture Challenge. These initiatives successfully helped kick start new social enterprises in the region, with forty-one enterprises having completed the programs to date.

This year, the newly launched Indigenous Tourism Start Up Program will support new business start-ups for members from Indigenous communities in the Fraser Valley to Lillooet region, including, but not limited to: Squamish, Lil̓wat, Lower St’at’imc (N’Quatqua, Samahquam, Skatin, Xa’xtsa), Upper St’at’imc (T’it’q’et, Ts’kw’aylaxw, Xaxli’p, Tsal’alh. Se’k’welwas and Xwisten), Musqueam, Tsleil –Waututh, Sto:Lo, Tswawwassen, Kwantlen, Katzie, Kwikweltlm, and Shishalh Nations.

This program will focus on the development of an Indigenous tourism business concept and then the development of a business plan. Participants will use the Business Model Canvas as a template for identifying a clear value proposition, customer market, cash flow and revenue streams, and then develop a full business plan. The program will include four two-day interactive and cohort-based classroom sessions, one-on-one mentorship, guest speakers, on-line learning, and mentor support, and take place from June to October, 2019, with a final pitch event in November. Thanks to funding from the BC Rural Dividend Program, all program costs, including accommodation and a travel allowance, are covered for the participants within the region identified. Participants from communities beyond the identified region will be reimbursed to a maximum travel allowance, and will also have costs of accommodation covered.


  • To encourage, support and inspire new Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs in the development of their new business
  • To support a stronger culture of Indigenous-based entrepreneurship
  • To build confidence and capacity in areas pertaining to business planning, financial literacy, marketing, branding, relationship building, and more
  • To increase jobs and employment, and strengthen community-driven economic development

You can find out more about the program online here:

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