Havelock entrepreneur receives $3,000 grant and mentorship for her tourism idea

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Sarah Heydon’s dream of building her passion project has finally come true thanks to the Peterborough and Kawarthas “Spark” Fellowship and Mentorship Program.

Heydon, along with five other entrants, won the competition, where she had to present a business pitch to generate ideas that would increase tourism in the area. The idea was pitched to the jury on July 14 as part of the Peterborough and Kawarthas “Spark” mentorship and grant program.

For her winning pitch, she will receive a $3,000 seed grant and mentorship to help set up her passion project.

Heydon said while she appreciates the financial support, what’s exciting to her is the mentorship she’ll receive along the journey of putting her passion project together.

“We’re proud of ourselves for working hard to get to this point,” she said. “We are very happy and we are very excited.”

The “Spark” program is a collaborative partnership between the Tourism Innovation Lab of Peterborough and Kawarthas Economic Development and Peterborough and Kawarthas Tourism.

The program aims to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships that will improve current offerings, fill gaps or challenges, motivate travel and extended stays, and increase year-round visitation to the region.

Heydon is the founder and owner of a non-profit organization, The Pearly Acre, in Havelock, a pig sanctuary. The organization currently houses 13 pigs and works to help unwanted pigs find new homes through a networking community.

Unlike a petting zoo, his organization offers immersive educational tours where an individual can have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of these animals, which are generally considered objects of food consumption and are often overlooked.

The idea was born out of a desire to create a wilderness retreat with overnight accommodation on her 83-acre property, where she runs her non-profit organization where tourists can enjoy a vegan, eco-friendly glamping resort. and off grid where they can connect with nature.

Heydon said she was already in a position where she organized weekly educational visits. With the construction of the resort, it can attract even more people to this area by adding the element of an overnight stay that will help them connect with the natural surroundings.

“Adding this extra element of overnight stay will bring more people from further afield rather than just coming for an hour for an educational tour,” she said. “I think it’s going to be pretty impactful, bringing people to this part of Havelock.”

For people hoping to realize that dream of entrepreneurship, Heydon believes that, just like her, if an individual’s idea is driven by passion, it will make it easier for them to achieve that goal.

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