As a technology startup or small business, it can often be difficult to consider your growth potential outside of your current Canadian market. Tech companies have reason to look outside of Canada though. In the artificial intelligence field alone, global investments have risen by over seven times from their 2010 levels. This market is now worth more than $310 million annually and continues to rise. Other technology fields are experiencing similar growth.
Startups and small to mid-sized companies (SMEs) have an enormous opportunity to grow within Canada and abroad. The challenge for most is having the resources, funding, and connections to grow at the pace they’re capable of. Given the proper mix of funding and connections, these businesses could flourish and enhance Canada’s position as a technology development leader.
CDMN Soft Landing Programs Assists International Market Development
The CDMN Soft Landing program aims to help Canadian technology startups and SMEs integrate into new markets and establish customers or secure investment there. The program will provide companies up to $4,000 in Canadian government grants to travel and stay in their market of choice. The main purpose of these business trips is to secure critical connections necessary to continue business development.
Businesses Eligible to Participate in CDMN Soft Landing
Eligible applicants must:
- Be a Canadian-based company
- Be a technology-focused startup or SME (less than 100 employees);
- Have existing revenues and be able to sell products;
- Not complete the Soft Landing program more than once in the past;
- Can demonstrate the activities being completed in the market (i.e. who you’re meeting with); and
- Can demonstrate an opportunity where their travel to the market will increase jobs, increase revenue, or secure new investment.
Projects Ideally Suited for Canadian Government Funding
The CDMN Soft Landing program is ideally suited for projects that:
- Grow a business’ customer base;
- Establish a satellite office;
- Develop distribution channels; or
- Secure partnerships that lead to foreign investment.
This program does not provide funding for travel in order to attend:
- Trade shows; or
- Trade missions.
Expenses Redeemable with CDMN Export Expansion Funding
Eligible expenses may only be incurred after approval into the Soft Landing program. Some of these costs include:
- Ground transportation; and
- Hotel booking fees.
How to Apply to the CDMN Soft Landing Program
Mature startups are advised to reach out to a local Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) to get started with this opportunity. Not only will these centres be able to help you find startup funding through the CDMN Soft Landing program, but their funding and other support services can help to grow your business.
Established SMEs can contact Mentor Works to learn more about how they can gain access to these, and other valuable export expansion funding opportunities. While the CDMN Soft Landing program is an excellent place to start for export funding, there are several other Canadian government grants and loans you may be eligible for.
CDMN Application Intake Dates
The next three opportunities for startups and small businesses to access this program are:
- Fall 2016 Intake: Applications due July 22 – August 7, 2016 for travel in August – November 2016.
- Winter 2016 Intake: Applications due October 2016 for travel in December 2016 – February 2017.
- Spring 2017 Intake: Applications due January 2017 for travel in March – June 2017.
Project Not Eligible for the CDMN Soft Landing Program?
Established SMEs may wish to consider the following government funding programs if they do not meet the eligibility for this program:
CanExport: Federal program that provides up to 50% of expenses for a variety of expenses related to attending trade shows and other market development costs, such as the translation and production of marketing materials.
Export Market Access (EMA): Offered from the Ontario provincial government, EMA supports up to 50% of project costs to participate in trade shows, conduct market research, and bid on foreign projects.