A Canadian startup is forging the path to one-way ticket to success

Featured image credit: Hulton Archive Getty Images How does it feel to be one of the world’s most prominent performers and yet not have the time or money to live in the city where…

A Canadian startup is forging the path to one-way ticket to success

Featured image credit: Hulton Archive Getty Images

How does it feel to be one of the world’s most prominent performers and yet not have the time or money to live in the city where you work? It was exactly this dilemma the creators of Toronto-The Musical attempted to resolve in 2012 with their ambitious project.

See more of the #Beyotelleno campaign that aims to celebrate Toronto, Canada.

Toronto, as well as the country and the world at large, fell in love with it.

Though the show was critically acclaimed for its depth of song and memorable lyrics, it still ran into financial trouble and couldn’t survive beyond its funding tenuous launch. Toronto: The Musical ultimately hit its financial ceiling.

‘We knew it wouldn’t be the same’

Instead of seeing the end of the Toronto musical come to a painful but necessary closure, the show’s creators landed on another creative idea: The Sweet Deal.

The Sweet Deal was a partnership with the FanFair Foundation, a non-profit organization that hosts “a platform for emerging artists to share new works.” Through The Sweet Deal, it aims to provide no-cost development opportunities for emerging artists with financial support through its $1.3 million funding. The money is supplemented with its own sponsorships from restaurant owners, bars and more who are interested in giving back to the greater community.

In exchange for The Sweet Deal’s support, artist’s projects remain free. The Sweet Deal platform “set a unique precedent: a platform that offered its own grant without taking a cut of the author’s royalties,” says Linda Bonacord, FanFair Foundation’s CEO.

It might not always be easy, Bonacord says, but the act of partnering to bring a project to Toronto brings immense rewards: “We knew it wouldn’t be the same once it was brought to life in Toronto’s greatest city. It definitely became a community attraction, which was not an easy task when you’re producing a musical in a foreign country, and told locally only through lyrics and music,” Bonacord says.

The moment a work leaves its home country and moves to the most exciting stage of all – the stage of stage – is often a magical one, an opportunity to take a project to the next level, to strengthen the artist and studio’s relationship, to expand their potential reach.

“The Sweet Deal has helped tremendously in our ability to find financing for our projects and this is the reason why we launch in Toronto first before moving into other locations,” says Bonacord.

Since its inception in 2015, The Sweet Deal has supported up to 100 artists with an average investment of $100 per artist, working on 3-5 projects. One artist involved with The Sweet Deal was drawn in by the extensive blogging platform built into its platform.

Vanessa Lee, who has been a member of The Sweet Deal since 2015, left her home in Hong Kong to live in Toronto. She began by working on three projects and expanding to 6 within two years. “I entered The Sweet Deal with some ideas on how to build my own blog,” Lee explains. “Instead, I was given more opportunity to engage in the platform, participate in events and create an overall experience that became enjoyable and useful for me.”

This is a story of tangible success. The Sweet Deal has brought emerging artists closer together through a platform that invites them to explore and work on musical ideas without a focus on financial return, and it has seeded a mindset in those involved that this new type of model – one that focuses on the creative spirit – is one that should not be limited to the performing arts only.

How has The Sweet Deal impacted your business? Let us know via @airatul.

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