Ontario Exporters Fund Small Business Grants

Please Note: The Export Manager Program is now closed and not accepting further applications. For trade show grants and other forms of export support, please visit our page on Business and Export Expansion Funding Programs.

Trade barriers exist in nearly all industries, though with the advancement of e-commerce, free trade agreements, and government export support systems, Canadian businesses have more streamlined export opportunities than ever before. However, these benefits are also experienced by other nations. In fact, developing nations have their own advantages, including lower labour rates that allow them to reduce operating costs. These low cost products are brought to market at lower prices, creating downward pricing pressures and Canadian businesses are feeling the effect. This can be seen in the 3.5% decrease in October 2015 exports compared to the same data from October 2014, according to Statistics Canada. The availability of Ontario small business grants to help support export expansion activities are an important step in strengthening our nation’s international trade performance.

Global Growth Fund Programs: Ontario Government Grants for Exporting

As part of the Government of Canada’s Economic  Action Plan, FedDev Ontario has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to help support Ontario business’ export activities through the Global Growth Fund Programs. These programs were created to subsidize key international business development activities, from the creation of an export marketing plan to the execution of marketing activities, trade missions, foreign project bidding, and international product certifications.

One of these programs, the Export Manager Program (EMP) helps Ontario businesses develop and implement an international marketing plan through the recruitment of an experience Export Manager. The Export Manager Program will cover up to 50% of an Export Manager’s wages up to $40,000 per year in Ontario small business funding grants. Funding support is secured for 48 months, creating a potential for businesses to receive a maximum of $80,000 in Ontario government grants towards an Export Manager’s wages.

Are You Eligible for the Ontario Exporters Fund?

This program is currently available to Ontario businesses in the following priority sectors:

  • Advanced Manufacturing;
  • Aerospace;
  • Building Products & Construction;
  • Clean Technology;
  • Exportable Professional Services (e.g., Architecture, Engineering, Urban Planning);
  • ICT including Digital Media; and
  • Life Sciences.

If your business is in one of the priority sectors listed above, please keep in mind that applicants must also be currently established and operating in Ontario for at least two years, have 5-500 full-time employees, and can maintain a commercial general liability insurance policy of at least $2 million per occurrence. Finally, applicants must have annual sales totalling between $3 million and $20 million with 10-50% of sales coming from export markets (although United States export sales can be excluded if they push your percentage above 50%).

Getting Started with the Ontario Exporters Fund

Applications are being accepted now for the Ontario Exporters Fund from Ontario businesses meeting the above requirements. Please note that your business does not have to be a member of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to apply, however you cannot place your candidate on payroll until you receive formal approval from the funding review board.

Funding Resource: Export Expansion White Paper: Download this free resource to learn how to collect statistics, analyze export market data, target export trade shows and missions, and finance your export expansion activities.

This Ontario small business funding program is an excellent opportunity for businesses to expand into new international markets by tapping into experienced business development expertise, developing a comprehensive strategy, and minimizing the financial investment of hiring senior talent.

Canadian Government Grants for Exporting

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Chris holds an Honours B.Comm at the University of Guelph, Majoring in Marketing Management. As Director of Client Management & Development at Mentor Works, Chris specializes in strategic planning through customized funding strategies. Add Chris Casemore to your Google+ Circles and follow @ChrisCasemore on Twitter.

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