Canadian businesses looking to scale their operations and grow into new export markets can access CanExport funding for marketing and sales projects. Available for startups to medium-sized businesses, CanExport supports projects such as modifications to product packaging, conducting market research, and participating in international trade shows. Businesses can receive cost-sharing support from CanExport for up to 50% of eligible project expenses between $10,000 and $50,000 as a matching contribution. Applicants can apply multiple times, however they cannot receive more than $100,000 from CanExport each year. This article will help determine whether your company, project, and expenses are eligible for this export market expansion program.
Canadian Business Eligibility for CanExport Funding Contributions
Agri-Food Businesses: CanExport cost matching funds are not available to those in the agri-food industry. Food and beverage businesses have their own federal export marketing program called AgriMarketing.
Companies across Canada, including startups, are able to apply for CanExport government funding. CanExport may be the right choice to help businesses extend their international marketing efforts, if they:
- Are a for-profit entity;
- Maintain at least one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, and a maximum of 250 FTEs;
- Earn between $200,000 and $50,000,000 in annual Canadian-declared revenue;
- Are incorporated (for any length of time), or a limited liability partnership (LLP);
- Are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency and have a CRA business identification number;
- Have plans to enter a new export market*;
- Have project expenses worth at least $20,000; and
- Have the financial ability to match funding support 1:1 for eligible project expenses.
* New Export Markets – According to Global Affairs Canada, a new export market is any country where less than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales have been earned in the last 24 months.
Projects Eligible for CanExport International Marketing Funding
A wide variety of international marketing and business expansion projects can receive CanExport Canadian government funding, including:
- Participation at foreign country trade shows or fairs;
- Round trip business travel to the new export country (up to 2 reps);
- Foreign market research;
- Creating or adapting marketing materials for international clients;
- Translation costs; and
- Distribution/representation agreement legal fees.
Projects not Eligible to Successfully Obtain CanExport Funding
A number of business projects or activities are not eligible to receive funding from CanExport, including:
- Ongoing or operational activities not directly linked to market expansion;
- Activities in a country where less than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales have been earned in the last 24 months;
- Language training and other educational services;
- Promoting Canadian investment or seeking economic immigrants; and
- Purchase or rental of used equipment.
Suitable Expenses to Submit for CanExport Cost Sharing
Eligible expenses will receive Canadian government funding support valued up to 50% to a maximum $50,000 per year. Fees deemed eligible for CanExport generally revolve around three main groups, including:
Travel Costs (Maximum of Two Employees)
- Return economy-class air travel;
- Per diem expenses (such as accommodation, meals, and incidentals;
- Ground transportation from point of arrival (i.e. airport) to destination; and
- Temporary travel visa fees.
- Fees associated with the participation in international trade shows, including booth space rental, booth design and construction, equipment rental, and shipping and handling costs of marketing materials used in the show;
- Real-time translation services;
- Translation of marketing materials to prepare them for an international audience; and
- Legal fees associated with bringing new products or services to a foreign market.
Please Note – All business consulting expenses will be capped at a maximum 25% contribution from Global Affairs Canada.
- Market research costs; and
- Engaging in business-to-business matchmaking or meeting programs.
Ineligible Expenses for CanExport Small Business Funding
Like most Canadian government grants and loans, a variety of expenses are not eligible for CanExport funding. These expenses include:
- Routine or ongoing expenses for core activities – not the project.
- Expenses already incurred prior to formal approval into the CanExport program;
- Salaries, wages, commissions;
- Entertainment and hospitality fees beyond what is permitted through per diem funds;
- Phone, data, and roaming fees;
- Lobbying, influencing government policies;
- Membership or event sponsorship;
- Research and development of products;
- Creation of marketing plans;
- Website hosting or maintenance fees; and