Exciting things are happening in Blyth! In addition to recent investments at Cowbell, Memorial Hall and the CCRC, a group of community stakeholders came together last fall and, over three planning meetings, have opened up new possibilities around welcoming people to participate in the theatre of rural life.

ABOUT

The Blyth Destination Development Strategic Investment Opportunity has been launched to tell and amplify the story of Blyth, improve the visitor experience, and create truly unique experiences (things to do) for both visitors and residents. It specifically encourages visitor-focused activities that enhance Blyth’s “DNA”, or the qualities that make Blyth unique: a welcoming, proudly rural village with a focus on theatre, arts and entertainment.

The 2018 Strategic Investment Opportunity (SIO) is an initiative of Huron County and Regional Tourism Organization 4 Inc. It has three streams with a total contribution room of up to $27,500 for proposals in: animation – how to bring the town to life through activities, hygiene – how to improve a visitor’s experience before, during and after their visit, and storytelling. SIO funds are available to eligible partnership opportunities up to a maximum 1:1 matched basis.

The Strategic Investment Opportunity Selection Committee will review proposal applications based on merit and conformity to the following guidelines. The amount available for co-investment in each stream is provisional with the final amounts allocated to be determined at the discretion of the Selection Committee based on the strength of applications and community feedback.

APPLICATION PROCESS AND DEADLINES

To learn more about partnership opportunities please review the following application guidelines.

Applicants must be located in or in close proximity to Blyth and are strongly encouraged to pre-plan their project, questions, and eligibility before applying using the contact information at the end of the guide.

Applicants are welcome to submit multiple applications for different projects. The proposal application must be completed in its entirety. Proposals must be submitted online at animationfund.ca/blythapply. At the discretion of the Selection Committee, proposals received after the final deadline may be reviewed and selected as resources permit.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible organizations include:

  • Tourism enterprises, BIA’s and businesses (as individual organizations or as a consortium) with interests in arts & culture, heritage, agri-culinary, sports, meetings & conventions, etc.
  • Festivals and Events
  • For-profit or non-profit organizations.

The applicant business/organization must be a visitor friendly establishment/event located within or in close proximity of Blyth village limits.

The project may be brand new or enhanced and must be able to achieve a minimum 1:1 matching contribution, either in dollars or value-in-kind. For example, if a total project budget is $1000, you are able to apply for up to $500.

Ineligible requests include:

  • Capital/infrastructure expenses
  • Regular operational expenses
  • Charitable contributions

STREAM #1: DESTINATION ANIMATION

To develop new experiences and enable product development, the Destination Animation stream helps create truly unique experiences for both visitors and residents. The fund focuses on enabling high-impact projects that are highly shareable.

The objective of the co-investment is to:

  • Increase the quantity and quality of visitor experiences
  • Increase destination awareness by creating engaging experiences that are highly shareable
  • Provide visitors with new opportunities to stay longer and interact more with the town
  • Increase tourism economic impact

The 2018 Destination Animation stream has $10,000 available for proposals. Individual applications may be for any amount from $500 to $5,000.

APPLICATION WORKSHEET (ANIMATION)

The online application process requires the business name, address and contact information as well as the following questions to be completed:

  1. The title of project.
  2. A description of the event, experience or project.
  3. The name of collaborators/partners.
  4. The dates and duration of this experience. Please include a timeline of key milestones for the duration of the project.
  5. The goals/expectations for the project.
  6. The key perforformances measure of success.
  7. The budget for the project. Please provide an itemized list of expenses, indicating which expenses will be covered by the applicant (may include staff resources and work-in-kind) and which will be funded through the animation partnership project.
  8. A demonstration of capacity (staff time and required skill set) to successfully implement this project.
  9. The risks associated with this project (i.e. weather, permitting, minimum attendance requirements…). Describe contingency plans to mitigate these risks.
  10. How this project will leverage social media sharing.
  11. The charge or admission price for the experience (if any).
  12. The type of marketing support that will be provided to promote this experience.
  13. Whether this is intended to be an ongoing event or experience.

EVALUATION CRITERIA (ANIMATION)

The following criteria will be utilized by the Destination Animation Selection Committee to evaluate each application:

  1. Net new or enhanced experience (not pre-existing)
  2. Unique, authentic experience aligning with the DNA of Blyth
  3. Level of shareability (i.e. inspires social media sharing)
  4. Feasibility
  5. Appeals to both local residents and visitors
  6. Potential to attract out-of-town visitors
  7. Potential of overall economic benefit to the Blyth area
  8. Level of collaboration with other stakeholders
  9. Marketing/promotional expertise and execution provided
  10. Risk Mitigation Strategy
  11. Builds local capacity and capability

STREAM #2: DESTINATION HYGIENE

The Destination Hygiene stream focuses on enabling feasible projects that have a positive impact on the destination and visitor experience.

The objective of the destination hygiene stream is to improve the visitor experience through physical or digital projects, such as streetscaping, wayfinding, mobile responsiveness and digital path to purchase (e-commerce).

The 2018 Destination Hygiene stream has $10,000 available for proposals. Individual applications may be for any amount from $500 to $10,000.

APPLICATION WORKSHEET (HYGIENE)

The online application process requires the business name, address and contact information as well as the following questions to be completed:

  1. The title of project.
  2. A brief description of the project.
  3. The names of any collaborators/partners.
  4. The dates and duration of this experience. Please include a timeline of key milestones for the duration of the project.
  5. The goals/expectations for the project.
  6. The measure of success and reporting for the project.
  7. The budget for the project. Please provide an itemized list of expenses, indicating which expenses will be covered by the applicant (may include staff resources and work-in-kind) and which are funded through the animation partnership project.
  8. A demonstration of capacity (staff time and required skill set) to successfully implement this project.
  9. The risks associated with this project (i.e. weather, permitting, minimum attendance requirements…). Describe contingency plans to mitigate these risks.

EVALUATION CRITERIA (HYGIENE)

The following criteria will be used by the Selection Committee to evaluate each application:

  1. Aligns with the DNA of Blyth
  2. Improves the visitor experience
  3. Feasibility
  4. Level of collaboration with other stakeholders
  5. Risk mitigation strategy
  6. Builds local capacity and capability

STREAM #3: DESTINATION STORYTELLING

The Destination Storytelling stream focuses on telling the story of Blyth in an engaging and authentic manner to current, or potential visitors. Projects include the creation and distribution of new content. Applications are strongly discouraged from applying for traditional print materials (i.e. brochures).

The 2018 Destination Storytelling stream has $7,500 available for proposals. Individual applications may be for any amount from $500 to $5,000.

APPLICATION WORKSHEET (STORYTELLING)

The online application process requires the business name, address and contact information as well as the following questions completed:

  1. Title of project.
  2. A brief description of the project, including distribution strategy.
  3. The name of any collaborators/partners.
  4. The dates and duration of this experience. Please include a timeline of key milestones for the duration of the project.
  5. The goals/expectations for the project.
  6. The measure of success and reporting for the project.
  7. The budget for the project. Please provide an itemized list of expenses, indicating which expenses will be covered by the applicant (may include staff resources and work-in-kind) and which are requested through the animation partnership project.
  8. A demonstration of capacity (staff time and required skill set) to successfully implement this project.
  9. The risks associated with this project (i.e. weather, permitting, minimum attendance requirements…). Describe contingency plans to mitigate these risks.
  10. How will social media be leveraged?

EVALUATION CRITERIA (STORYTELLING)

The following criteria will be utilized by the Storytelling Selection Committee to evaluate each application:

  1. Net new or enhanced marketing project (not pre-existing)
  2. Aligns with the DNA of Blyth
  3. Level of shareability (i.e. inspires social media sharing or engagement)
  4. Potential to attract out-of-town visitors
  5. Level of collaboration with other stakeholders
  6. Risk mitigation strategy
  7. Builds local capacity and capability

SELECTION, DUE DILIGENCE AND FUNDING

Selection Process
All applications go through a process of screening against the eligibility criteria before they are assessed by the Selection Committee against the selection criteria. The Selection Committee meets to discuss the applications and agrees upon a final shortlist of applications that will be submitted to Regional Tourism Organization 4 inc. (RTO4) with a recommendation for: a) approval; b) revision and re-assessment; and c) non-approval.

Due Diligence
Before proceeding to funding, RTO4 will undertake due diligence on the lead organizations. The due diligence assesses if potential applicants meet minimum criteria for:

  • Governance, risk management and internal controls
  • Financial status, procurement and financial management
  • Programmatic capability and readiness to deliver

Funding
The strategic co-investment agreement will be between the lead organization and RTO4. Once the project proposal has been approved, the lead organization will be provided with the funding template containing the standard terms and conditions. The agreement will also include the final agreed project proposal and budget and specify the requirements for obtaining disbursements and progress reporting.

FOLLOW UP EVALUATION REPORTING FORM

All organizations who receive co-investment are required to provide a final project evaluation directly to RTO4 no later than 60 days from the conclusion of the event or completion of the project, and include reporting for the following:

  1. A description of any significant accomplishments, success stories, knowledge gained and/or lessons learned.
  2. The goals and objectives achieved as outlined in your original proposal.
  3. A reporting of specific results of each of the above-stated goals and objectives (e.g., number of persons served, social media engagement, earned media).
  4. The effect of any factors that may have impacted your ability (positively or negatively) to implement the project (e.g., challenges or opportunities, such as funding issues or collaborative partnerships).
  5. Whether the activities will be continued? Please provide details.
  6. Feedback on how the Blyth Destination Development Strategic Co-Investment Opportunity might be improved (e.g., application process, review process)?

DEADLINES

Proposals must be submitted online at animationfund.ca. There will be a first round of proposals with a deadline of March 31st, 2018. Proposals received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis, however there is no guarantee that resources will be available after the initial round.

QUESTIONS?

Please feel free to email or call if you have any questions or need clarification.
Andrea Gardi, Senior Project Manager, RTO4
(519) 271-7000 x 205
andrea@rto4.ca