CanExport Funding: Export Grants Eligibility

The CanExport funding program provides Canadian government grants to support export marketing projects including participation in trade shows and government-led trade missions. By accessing additional funding for these types of activities, businesses can de-risk export market evaluation and development, ultimately helping to accelerate international growth.

Through CanExport, Canadian businesses may access up to 50% of costs associated with export marketing projects to a maximum $50,000 per application.

The program provides funding for up to 1,000 businesses per year to support new export marketing strategies. To be deemed eligible, companies should be a small or medium sized business (outside the agri-sector) with 1-500 payroll employees, maintain annual revenues of at least $100,000, and have at least $20,000 in project expenses. Other eligibility criteria apply; continue reading to see if the CanExport funding program is suitable for your upcoming export opportunities.

What is the CanExport Funding Program for Canadian Businesses?

CanExport grants support businesses who are using export marketing projects (commonly participation in trade shows/missions) to develop new international markets where less than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales have been earned in the past 24 months. Through these types of projects, businesses can attract new customers, increase brand awareness, and develop export revenues.

The CanExport program provides up to 50% of eligible project expenses to maximum $50,000 in small business grants per application.

Participating in trade shows are one element of an effective international marketing strategy. Not sure what trade events to attend to access this funding program? These upcoming trade shows will help your business reach new markets in 2018.

Does Your Business Qualify for CanExport Funding?

To be deemed eligible for the CanExport program, Canadian businesses must:

  • Maintain 1 to 500 full-time employees;
  • Not be in the agricultural or food/beverage sector (please see Agri-Marketing for a relevant alternative funding program for this sector);
  • Earn annual revenues ranging from $100,000 to $100,000,000;
  • Be federally incorporated federally or classified as a limited liability partnership (LLP);
  • Create eligible project expenses of $20,000 or more; and
  • Be financially stable and able to pay all project expenses not covered by the program.

CanExport Funding for Business Expansion: Project Eligibility

To access CanExport funding for upcoming international expansion initiatives, ensure the project revolves around:

  • Participation at international trade shows;
  • Developing marketing materials for international clients;
  • Travel to the export market of choice; and
  • Completing foreign market research.

Projects Ineligible for CanExport Export Marketing Grants

Alternately, some of the project activities not eligible to receive CanExport small business grants include:

  • Activities in a foreign country where must generate more than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales has been generated in the last 24 months;
  • Ongoing or operational activities not associated with market expansion;
  • Language training and other educational services; and
  • Promoting Canadian investment or seeking economic immigrants.

CanExport International Marketing Grants: Expense Eligibility

CanExport funding can be used to offset a portion of costs (up to 50%) related to export expansion projects. This includes:

  • Trade show registration and participation fees;
  • Travel expenses from Canada to a selected foreign country (for up to 2 employees);
  • Ground transportation from airport to destination;
  • Marketing material translation fees;
  • Daily per diem of $400 CAD (for up to 2 reps); and
  • Consulting fees for business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking services.

Please Note: While the program may provide up to 50% of these costs, typically recipients receive 25%-50% of eligible costs.

Project Expenses Ineligible for CanExport Grants

Alternately, the following project expenses cannot be claimed for CanExport funding:

  • Project expenses already incurred prior to formal approval into the CanExport program;
  • Routine or ongoing expenses for activities that are not project-specific;
  • Employee salaries, wages, and commissions;
  • Development of marketing plans;
  • Research and development of products;
  • Website development or maintenance fees;
  • Phone, data, and roaming fees;
  • Entertainment and hospitality fees (beyond what is permitted through per diem funds);
  • Lobbying or influencing of government policies;
  • Membership fees or event sponsorship; and
  • Any applicable taxes.

Apply for CanExport Funding for Business Expansion

To apply for CanExport funding, businesses must develop a comprehensive application that details your business, current export markets, potential contacts and buyers in proposed export markets, a project overview that notes upcoming trade events, an assessment of project risks, and a full project budget.

Generally, funding decisions (based on applications) are made within 25 business days of submission. Upon receipt of funding approval, companies may begin recording expenses that can be claimed for government grants.

Do you want to speak to a Government Funding Planner™ about your upcoming export development project? Ready to apply for CanExport Funding? Contact Mentor Works.

Apply for Canadian Government Funding

Posted: November 17, 2017. Updated: December 11, 2018.

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Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.

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