Developing international markets is an imperative strategy for any business who is seeking to drive revenues and become globally competitive. Although it can be expensive and risky to act on an expansion plan, doing so can lead to a range of benefits such as generating substantially higher revenues, developing a more reliable value chain, and accessing new customers.
Exporting also boosts Canada’s ability to be competitive with other developed nations. Because of this, the federal government is dedicated to helping small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) establish and expand their reach in export markets.
In fact, CanExport, one of the government’s newest export grants, has awarded funding to over 500 businesses growing their international operations.
CanExport grants offer $10,000 – $50,000 in Canadian government funding to SMEs who are exhibiting at trade shows in international markets. Specific “markets” must be countries where the business has recorded less than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales in the last 24 months. Up to 50% of eligible costs may be offset by funding, including trade show registration fees, airfare, accommodation, and marketing material translation.
More than 500 Businesses will Receive CanExport Grants
Each year (until 2021) the Canadian government’s CanExport program will provide up to $50 million in support of export expansion activities. In 2016, the program’s first year, this funding has supported more than 500 businesses, while more companies are expected to receive support in coming years when the program becomes more popular.
CanExport grants support market expansion activities by reducing the costs (and implicit risks) associated with performing strategic exporting strategies. Through the program, small and mid-sized businesses can offset a portion of the fees required to perform marketing activities such as translating marketing materials, performing marketing research, and exhibiting in trade shows.
Funding is meant to support marketing activities performed in countries where less than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales have been earned in the last 24 months.
500 Canadian businesses have successfully leveraged this funding since January 2016. Could your business be the next recipient of these exporting grants?
Canadian Businesses Eligible for CanExport Funding
CanExport grants are available to most profitable, incorporated Canadian businesses. Most industries are eligible; however, members of Canada’s agri-food industry should consider using AgriMarketing grants for export marketing projects.
To be deemed eligible for CanExport funding, businesses should ensure they:
- Are a for-profit, incorporated entity;
- Earn between $200,000 and $50,000,000 in annual Canadian-declared revenue;
- Maintain at least one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, and a maximum of 250 FTEs;
- Have plans to expand an export market where less than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales have been earned in the last 24 months;
- Have project expenses worth at least $20,000;
- Are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency and have a CRA business identification number; and
- Have the financial ability to match funding support 1:1 for eligible project expenses.
Types of Projects that are a Good Fit for CanExport
Although CanExport primarily focuses on helping small businesses exhibit at foreign trade shows, a range of activities can be supported, including:
- Participation at international trade shows or fairs;
- Round-trip business travel to the new export country (for up to 2 reps);
- Creating/adapting marketing materials for international clients;
- Foreign market research;
- Translation costs; and
- Distribution/representation agreement legal fees.
How to Apply for CanExport Marketing Grants
CanExport grants are available on a continuous basis, meaning that businesses may apply for funding anytime during the year. Companies should submit applications at least 8 weeks prior to incurring expenses to make sure the application has been reviewed first.
Businesses will need to state which market will be developed, why the new market has export potential, and why the marketing activities will support growth in that country. There must be a clear case for how export sales will increase as result of the marketing project.
Posted: December 16, 2016 by Jeff Shepherd. Updated: June 13, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd.