The BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media will empower and train Canadian women entrepreneurs on the keys to success in building and growing their own sustainable businesses within the screen-based industries. With a strong mandate to champion diversity at its core, the program is designed to advance gender equality across the media sector, bolstering the economic success of all women, including women of colour, Indigenous women, women with disabilities, non-binary and LGBTQ2+ women.

It is estimated that just a small fraction of the media-based businesses in Canada are owned and operated by women. BANFF Spark will address this systemic gap in gender equality and representation by providing essential opportunities and resources to help build significantly more women-owned and women-led businesses that excel both domestically and across the global media industry.

The opening cohort of BANFF Spark will provide up to 50 women entrepreneurs from Southern Ontario and the western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia) with a multi-tiered business development curriculum, a series of regional workshops designed to build knowledge and strategy, expert one-on-one mentorship, and access to potential capital investment.

Selected participants will also attend BANFF 2020 with full registration, where they will benefit from the Festival’s extensive professional development opportunities as well as a bespoke stream of content and networking opportunities. The program is open to women who are established in the media industry and those that are starting out. Content production businesses as well as those that offer related services within the screen-based industry are eligible.

The goal of BANFF Spark is to bolster the success of new and existing businesses and produce jobs that elevate Canada’s place in the global media industry.


BANFF Spark will feature a hands-on curriculum designed to address the core components of business development, including: financial strategy, market positioning, operations and leadership. All program participants will receive:

  • A one day regional workshop in either Vancouver, Calgary, or Toronto in winter 2020;
  • Ongoing one-on-one mentorship from an industry expert;
  • Instructional and informational sessions augmented by networking events with potential investors, partners, and collaborators at the 2020 Banff World Media Festival;
  • A full-access pass to the 2020 Banff World Media Festival, a leading 4-day international industry conference and marketplace that provides a platform for the evolving media industry to develop its creative and business objectives ($1,695 CAD value);
  • A $1,500 CAD travel stipend to attend the 2020 Banff World Media Festival;
  • Supplementary resources/course materials;
  • A dedicated online peer networking community;
  • Access and visibility within the Canadian and global media industry.

* BANFF Spark is a not-for-profit program; no capital funding is provided and we do not take equity in your company.


    Applicants must meet all of the following minimum eligibility criteria:

  • Be a woman
  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Be building or launching a business that produces, distributes, or supports content creation or monetization within the screen-based industries. This includes content production, traditional or streaming broadcast platforms, international distribution, animation or visual effects service providers, post-production services, and music publishers for film or television, as well as professional service providers such as technology solutions, agents, locations, and facilities, etc.
  • Be applying with a business that is or will be based in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Southern Ontario
  • Retain an equity stake in the business to be grown or launched via BANFF Spark
  • The existing business or the business to be launched has or will have a minimum of 20% equity owned by women
  • The business must be privately held and not listed on any exchanges anywhere in the world
  • If applying with a new business, the new venture must be expected to launch within one (1) year of BANFF Spark’s program commencement
  • Be available to attend one regional workshop in either Toronto, Vancouver, or Calgary in winter 2020
  • Be available to attend the 2020 BANFF World Media Festival from June 14 - June 17

* Individual productions or media projects do not qualify for participation in BANFF Spark


Key Dates

Application Period: September 3 - October 15, 2019
Participant Announcement: November 2019
Regional Workshops: late Winter 2020
Banff World Media Festival Program: June 14 - 17, 2020

Submission Requirements

In your application we collect information that will help us understand how you and your business are currently positioned in the industry, as well as how you would like BANFF Spark to help you advance.

Applicant Profile

An overview of your current and past professional experience, including any significant benchmarks and notable achievements.

Business Profile

An overview of your current business or the business you will be launching. This includes, but is not limited to sector, market, financial strategy, management team, and launch or growth plans.


A description of why you and/or your company would benefit from the program and what you would most hope to gain through participation in BANFF Spark.

Supporting Documents

Curriculum Vitae (mandatory)
Ownership Capitalization Table (a breakdown of the ownership stakes in your business) (mandatory)
Professional Reference Letter (ideally from an industry professional who can speak to your track record, abilities, and ambitions) (mandatory)
Supporting Materials (e.g. business plan, sales/marketing materials, etc.) (optional)

Selection Criteria

Each application will be assessed according to the following primary criteria:

  1. Market: Characteristics of the market and description of its customers/audience.
  2. Product / Service: The specifics of the product or service.
  3. Business Model: How revenues will be achieved and profits earned. This program seeks to assist businesses that do not currently have the existing infrastructure and working capital to ensure long-term sustainability in their field, and which have the potential to grow nationally and globally.
  4. Management: An assessment of the entrepreneur(s) and team.
  5. Finances: A multi-year projection of revenues and expenses as well as launch/growth objectives.

BANFF Spark has a strong mandate to achieve diverse representation across its program. We celebrate diversity and inclusion with respect and appreciation of differences including but not limited to: ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, nationality, sexual orientation, age, religion, education, and ability.


Please note that all BANFF Spark programming will be conducted in English.

Veuillez noter que toute la programmation BANFF Spark se déroulera en anglais.


Need more information?

Please direct all inquiries to BANFFfellowships@brunico.com