Tourism Business Mentorship Program

This program is not currently accepting applications.

For 2022-23, the Tourism Business Mentorship Program is being offered with both in person and virtual mentorship opportunities.

Mentorships will be delivered through the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) and its network of executive-level volunteers with decades of specialized business knowledge in a wide range of business-related disciplines. 

Each mentee will receive 49 hours of mentorship on a schedule developed to suit their availability.

What is the Tourism Business Mentorship Program?

The Tourism Business Mentorship Program provides opportunities and resources for interested NWT tourism operators (Mentees) to learn and benefit from experienced operators (Mentors).

Learning from a Mentor can be an important element in a tourism operator’s success. Mentors share their expertise and knowledge and provide support and encouragement to help entrepreneurs remain focused on what is important for the success of their business. Through the Tourism Business Mentorship Program, tourism operators who are less experienced can gain valuable skills in business, leadership and networking to

help maximize their potential and become successful and profitable independent tourism operators.

The mentoring process may involve the Mentor visiting the Mentee’s place of business, the Mentee visiting the Mentor’s place of business, and/or the Mentor providing online support.

Program Goals

The goals of the program are to:

  • provide the resources necessary to strengthen the tourism industry by developing skills and increasing business knowledge of tourism operators;
  • provide opportunities for NWT tourism business operators to learn and benefit from more experienced tourism operators/professionals;
  • enhance the strength of the tourism industry over the long term by providing resources and opportunities for NWT tourism businesses to learn from experienced professionals; and
  • facilitate knowledge transfer from more experienced professionals to new/younger entrepreneurs.

Tourism Business Definition

For the purpose of this program, the definition of a tourism business is a business that relies on travellers for a significant portion of their income. Examples of tourism businesses are those that provide hotels, restaurants, entertainment, services etc. for people who are travelling.

For the purpose of this fund, the aviation industry is excluded from this definition of tourism.

Program Administration

Government of the Northwest Territories, Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI)

ITI provides employment support and training to foster positive economic growth across the Northwest Territories (NWT). Regional Tourism Officers (RTOs) are employees of the Department and are available to discuss project proposals, help complete your application and to accept your completed application forms.

ITI staff also comprise the Mentorship Committee and are responsible for the selection of mentees. ITI staff are involved in both Stream 1 and Stream 2 of the Mentorship Program, in varying capacities.

Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO)

CESO is a leading economic development organization dedicated to fostering economic growth in Canada and globally. CESO has nearly 50 years of business mentorship experience, with over 50,000 assignments successfully delivered in 122 countries worldwide.

CESO works with ITI to deliver the Mentorship Program and matches Mentees with suitable Mentors. CESO administers the overall Mentorship process and provides expertise and guidance on the Mentorship Program.

Program Structure

The Tourism Business Mentorship Program has two delivery options: 1) Face-to-Face Mentorships 2) Virtual Mentorships.

Option 1: Face-to-Face Mentorship

Face-to-Face Mentorships allows the Mentor and Mentee to work together on-site at the Mentee’s place of business. Each Mentee will receive a total of three (3) days of in-person on-site mentorship as well as four (4) days of mentorship from distance using web and/or telephone on a schedule developed to suit their availability.


Option 2: Virtual Mentorship

Virtual Mentorships involve the Mentor and the Mentee working together remotely with the use of web and/or telephone technology.  A Mentee will receive 49 hours of virtual mentorship on a schedule developed to suit their availability.

Eligibility Criteria


Stream 1

Criteria for individual tourism operators (Mentees) to apply to the program:

  • Must be a resident of the NWT
  • Must have a valid Tourism Operator License or be a business, collective or organization that is engaged in the NWT tourism sector
  • Must be legally entitled to be a business in the NWT
  • A business plan would be an asset


CESO sets Mentor criteria and standards and acts as the liaison for the Mentee in the selection process for a Mentor.

Program Priority Areas

The Tourism Business Mentorship Program provides mentorships in a wide-variety of topics that are of interest to tourism operators and tourism businesses. Topics available include:

Stream 1

  • Strategic Planning e.g. New tactics and strategies for Service Quality improvements.
  • Crisis Management
  • Accessing and applying for grants
  • Resumption Planning
  • Business Planning
  • Policy development e.g. health and safety policies
  • Product development and product diversification
  • Financial Management/ Accounting and Audit e.g. financing issues and strategies for remote communities.
  • Review of potential sources of capital.
  • Operations Management
  • Market Assessment and Development
  • Parks Management
  • Destination Marketing e.g. Destination Management for remote or isolated communities.
  • E-Commerce
  • Digital Marketing e.g. Free (Earned) Media, Social-Media Influencers.
  • Website Development
  • Communication Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Project Planning and Management
For full details, or to apply, please see the documents below or contact your ITI regional office.