The First Spark Initiative – Strategic Initiatives

The Strategic Initiatives component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund has launched The First Spark Initiative. Arts and heritage organizations may apply for up to $5,000 to organize a collaborative problem-solving activity which seeks to address a common business challenge.

By using creative approaches to collaborative problem solving, partnerships and knowledge exchange with industry experts and consultants from the cultural, corporate and/or academic fields, the expected results of The First Spark Initiative are innovative business solutions for participating cultural organizations.

Who can apply

To be eligible, an applicant must be a not-for-profit organization or equivalent Indigenous peoples’ organization with a mandate and activities related to the arts or heritage sector, or a post-secondary education institution or a heritage organization governed by another level of government.

Please review the application guidelines for full eligibility requirements.

Application deadline

This is a time-limited initiative. We will accept applications until November 15, 2019, 12 pm (ET). Activities supported must be completed by March 31, 2020.

Eligible projects

To be eligible for funding from The First Spark Initiative, your organization must have identified:

  1. a business challenge you share with other organizations, such as:
    • technology issues
    • data management and discoverability
    • digital transformation
    • marketing and audience development
    • revenue diversification and fundraising
    • governance issues
  2. all organizations with which you will be partnering to explore possible solutions (a minimum of one partner is required)
  3. a participatory activity you will organize to address the business challenge, such as:
    • design jam
    • design-thinking workshop
    • experimentation with and mastery of new tools or technology
    • hackathon
    • ideation workshop
  4. the type of expertise you will involve to explore possible solutions, such as:
    • academic research
    • audience development
    • board and/or organizational governance
    • data management and discoverability
    • design thinking/innovation
    • digital transformation
    • finance
    • fundraising and development
    • information technology (IT)
    • marketing and communications
    • operational research
    • workshop facilitator

How to apply

Read these application guidelines in their entirety before completing your application.

You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit the following documents to be considered for funding. A complete application package includes the application form and the following supporting documents:

  • a copy of the applicant’s letters patent and/or certificate of incorporation as a not‑for‑profit organization or equivalent document; and
  • a copy of the applicant’s bylaws.

Contact us

Department of Canadian Heritage
Canada Cultural Investment Fund
Strategic Initiatives component
25 Eddy Street, 13th Floor, Room 297 (25-13-V)
Gatineau QC J8X 4B5



1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)


1-888-997-3123 (toll-free)

Officers are available to answer your questions, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm (ET).

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