Guidelines: Remarkable Experience Accelerator 2015

Guidelines: Remarkable Experience Accelerator 2015

Applications to this program are accepted by invitation only.

Program Description

The Remarkable Experience Accelerator is a partnership between the Calgary Hotel Association and Calgary Arts Development. It is intended to provide multi-year investment for applicants to enhance and/or build on an existing initiative or program. It is not intended to fund single-time programs, projects or events. The goal of the Remarkable Experience Accelerator is to enhance the story of Calgary as a cultural hotbed and give people even more reasons to visit Calgary as leisure travelers.

The program will invest up to $1,164,000 from the Destination Marketing Fund (DMF) over three years to accelerate medium to long-term (at least two years) plans for remarkable arts experiences.

By the end of the investment period, successful applicants should achieve a sustainably higher level of performance. Successful applicants will work closely in partnership with Calgary Arts Development, the Calgary Hotel Association and the Remarkable Experience Accelerator assessment panel to create the best possible conditions for success. The maximum number of clients participating in the program at any given time is limited to seven. If all investment dollars are not allocated and/or clients are not identified in the 2015 application process, further application processes will be made available.


  • Applicants may be organizations, groups or committees that operate under non-profit or for-profit models. For-profit organizations must demonstrate an ability to contribute back to the fund at the conclusion of their participation in the program.
  • The applicant’s proposed activity must be centred on arts, entertainment or culture.
  • The majority of the applicant’s proposed activity must be accessible to Calgarians.
  • The applicant must have an annual operating budget of $350,000 or greater (averaged over the last three years) and a minimum of one, preferably two full-time staff.
  • The program will place a premium on activity that occurs over long weekends or during January, February or August.
  • The applicant’s proposed activity must occur between June 1, 2015 and December 31, 2018 and result in a long-term, sustainable increase in performance.

The following types of organizations and activities are not eligible:

  • One-time events and activities.
  • Political, trade union or fraternal lodge organizations.
  • Organizations or groups whose primary purpose is to support a political campaign or party.
  • Organizations or groups whose primary purpose is to raise funds.
  • Trade shows and/or consumer fairs, unless the activity can be demonstrated to make a contribution to Calgary’s cultural reputation.
  • Conferences, including academic and business conferences.

How to Apply

Phase 1: Letter of Intent

Deadline: February 6, 2015 at 12:00pm

Letters of Intent (LOI) to participate in the program will be accepted on an invitation-only basis.

Interested parties must contact Calgary Arts Development to discuss their initiatives and suitability for being invited to prepare a LOI, in which they will be asked to describe their vision and proposed activities as well as provide a high-level order of magnitude budget. The LOI is designed to let applicants show how they meet the general program criteria. Program staff will review each LOI for eligibility. Those who meet the program criteria will advance to Phase Two and be invited to submit full proposals. Letters will not be accepted from applicants who have not spoken with program staff in advance of their submissions.

Applicants will submit an online letter of intent, stating:

  • Type of applicant: Non-profit organization, group, committee or for-profit organization.
  • Mandate and vision statement: Provide the legal mandate of your organization.
  • Initiative or vision: A summary of your vision including the proposed activities as well as start and end dates.
  • Estimated Budget: A high-level overview of the estimated revenues and expenses of your proposed initiative or vision, including major categories only.

Please contact Calgary Arts Development to receive a sample of the LOI. Note that only those invited to submit a LOI will have access to the online LOI form.

Phase 2: Full Application and Investment Pitch

Application Deadline: April 9, 2015 at 12:00pm

Investment Pitches: April 20 – 30, 2015

Successful Phase 1 applicants will complete a full program application and be asked to deliver an investment pitch to the assessment panel. All Phase 2 applicants will be expected to participate in investment pitch training (date TBD) and will have access to a pitch coach prior to meeting the assessment panel. The assessment panel will meet to discuss each applicant, identify those that strongly meet the program criteria, and determine an investment approach for those who are successful.

Note: Not all applicants who advance onto Phase 2 will be successful in receiving investment.

Phase 3: Investment Agreement

Applicants selected for investment (clients) will meet with program staff to draft general terms and conditions for the investment agreement, including required performance benchmarks and success indicators. Investment terms will be approved by the client, Calgary Arts Development and the Calgary Hotel Association. Program staff and the assessment panel will meet with the client regularly over the term of the agreement to provide continued support in advancing the proposed program or initiative. Each client will be required to make an annual update to the assessment panel reporting on performance benchmarks. The term of the agreement will range from one to three years depending upon specific proposal needs, and will be renewed annually as applicable.


An arm’s length assessment panel composed of qualified volunteers including tourism professionals, investment professionals, marketing professionals and arts sector professionals will assess and advise on all program investments. The panel will have a minimum of five members. Calgary Arts Development and the Calgary Hotel Association will sit as members of the panel.

Assessment Criteria

Applicants will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate:

  • A compelling medium- to long-term (at least two years) vision for accelerating or creating a remarkable arts, entertainment or cultural experience that will enhance Calgary’s reputation.
  • A strong contribution to Calgary’s economic and cultural vibrancy through their proposed initiative(s).
  • A proven track record, sufficient capacity and a readiness to enrich the experience(s) of their audiences.
  • Initiatives that encourage visitation to Calgary, extended stays by travellers and opportunities for tying into out-of-market promotions.
  • A willingness to build capacity within their organization to measure the impact of their offering(s) on the leisure travel market and promote to the leisure travel market.

In addition to the above criteria, applicants must be able to prove organizational resiliency appropriate for their proposed initiatives, measured through financial health, governance/leadership, history of programming and/or track record demonstrating accountability and success. The program will prioritize activity that occurs over long weekends and during January, February or August.


If you have questions about the program or would like to submit a letter of intent, please contact Emiko Muraki, Director, Community Investment & Impact, at or 403.264.5330 ext. 202.

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