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Book an Information Session 

One of our Business Advisors will be happy to discuss all of the free services we offer to members and partners

Ella vanderburgt

Ella Vanderburgt

Stephen Tooshkenig
Ryan Sawatzky
Jennifer King-Callon
Scott Mercs

  Ryan Sawatzky

Stephen Tooshkenig

Jennifer King-Callon

Scott Mercs

What We Do

Business Advisory Services

The IBA Program uses a relationship-focused approach whereby businesses receive one-on-one support from industry leading Indigenous tourism professionals. Call us, we're knowledgeable, easy-going and eager to help.

PATHS Business Planning


ITO's extensive business planning tool. One of our IBAs will help you design your financial, marketing and business plan

Stephen, Scott, Ryan
Jenn and Ella


IBAs can assist you in several ways, and have several years experience managing all kinds of tourism businesses.

FINANCIAL & MARKETING PLANNING Our IBAs will help you tackle your most challenging financial and marketing tasks. 

Tourism Excellence Workshops

Indigenous Tourism Ontario's IBAs facilitate several workshops designed to build capacity in the tourism workforce. The workshops are free to members and partners, and can be delivered in-person or online. Book an information session with one of our IBAs and we'll discuss the workshop choices that would work best for you.

Leading For Excellence


This 3-hour workshop examines the qualities that effective leaders share. Leaders inspire and motivate others.

Community Tourism Awareness


This 4-6 hour workshop looks at grassroots tourism opportunities in your own neighbourhoods and communities.

Service Excellence


We'll look at the strategies and best practises for creating honest, genuine customer service in this 4-hour session.

Wellness Workshop


Balancing work and home life is a challenge that many people face. This    

3-hour workshop offers insight and help.

Coaching for Excellence


This 3-hour workshop examines the traits and techniques that motivate excellent coaches and mentors.

CEO Kevin Eshkawkogan

Who We Are

ITO Indigenous Business Advisors offer complimentary workshops, business planning (PATHs) and financial, marketing and operational assistance to Indigenous Tourism Ontario members and partners. Our goal is to help Indigenous businesses thrive by providing expert guidance and support. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your business to the next level, we're here to help you succeed.

Ella Vanderburgt  is a consultant committed to supporting you in all aspects of business development. With over 20 years’ experience creating, managing, and delivering programs which provide advice at all stages of small to medium business growth.

A successful business entrepreneur who understands the varied challenges of owning a business. She is an expert in coaching and agile at developing efficiencies within financial and accounting systems, tax, retention, and sustainability. In addition, Ella is a certified business coach by Business Retention + Expansion International and the Building Enterprising and Vibrant Communities and Local Economies through Asset Based Community Development course.

Expertise: Small business development, financial and accounting system development.

Stephen W. Tooshkenig  currently resides within Bkejwanong Territory. As a business owner in the Tourism/Culture Industry, Stephen has been offering opportunities to travellers across the world to visit his Traditional Territory.

Stephen has been consulting for over 15 years as a professional speaker along with facilitation and workshop development. When he’s not online via zoom or in person for a speaking engagement, Stephen and his family can be often found along the blue waters of Bkejwanong via Pontoon. Stephen is looking forward to serving the Indigenous Tourism sector with knowledge, experience and a keen awareness of trends and opportunities for Indigenous Tourism businesses.

Expertise: On reserve business development, First Nation governance relations, small to medium enterprises.

Ryan Sawatzky has 25 years of experience in tourism destination design/build and close to a decade developing education and economic projects with community organizations in Haiti. Ryan has honed a unique perspective and set of skills regarding community-based tourism design and business consulting. Ryan has a passion for assisting communities that are looking for ways to ensure their economic prosperity while protecting the social and cultural values that are key to their past, present, and future. Working in common to accomplish these social goals is something Ryan understands very well and is where his heart is. 

Expertise: Community based tourism design and cultural preservation, commercial/retail, landscape, architectural, theme design, graphic design, website development.

Jennifer King-Callon  is a community and business development-focused consultant specializing in strategic marketing and tourism in Northern Ontario.

Calling Sault Ste. Marie home with 20+ years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, Jennifer has enjoyed multiple high-level tourism marketing, sales, and hospitality roles. She is passionate about building communities from an economic development perspective and has driven successful product development and programming campaigns in the North. Jennifer will focus on the possibilities and opportunities throughout Northern Ontario, and is looking forward to assisting communities through tourism growth.

Expertise: Tourism, community-builder, partnership & product development, event management

Scott Mercs  has managed restaurants, resorts and hotels in Nunavut, Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. He has had the privilege to have lived and worked on reserve for over seven years of his professional life. Life-long learning is a passion, and Scott has completed a history degree from UBC, a marketing diploma from McMaster University, a film production certificate from Lights Film School in NewYork and a hotel/restaurant management certificate from Vancouver Community College. Scott’s greatest professional accomplishment was owning his own restaurant/campground business while in his youth,and understands the highs and lows of business ownership. As an Indigenous Business Advisor, Scott is very excited to build relationships and help foster Ontario’s Indigenous tourism economy. 

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