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.
The Export Manager Program is an Ontario government funding program designed to help small and medium-sized businesses hire an Export Manager or International Business Development Manager. The program provides government grants to directly offset a portion of the new hire’s salary. This new employee will be directly responsible for drafting export development plans, leading a team of Sales Managers, and navigate certifications and customs processes.
The Export Manager Program accelerates international business development by offering up to 50% of salary costs to a maximum $40,000/year for a two-year period (maximum $80,000).
To qualify for this Ontario small business grant, companies must apply prior to hiring an Export Manager or International Business Development Manager. There must be a strong case for why a new employee is required to navigate the exporting process, and there must also be clearly defined market opportunities for the company to exploit internationally.
Export Grant for Ontario Businesses: EMP Funding
Ontario business grants provided through the Export Manager Program (formerly Ontario Exporters Fund) help small and medium-sized businesses afford the hiring of a new employee to manage the exploration and development of new international markets. This new employee should not be directly involved in the sales process, rather, be responsible for the strategic development of international markets by overcoming legislative hurdles and building a sales team to serve new customers.
EMP grants provide up to 50% of a new export professional’s salary for a maximum $40,000/year. Two years of support may be received for a maximum program value of $80,000.
EMP grants are administered by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and is part of the Global Growth Program, a series of government grants which provide support for export activities.
Export Manager Program: Business Eligibility Criteria
To qualify for the program, businesses must have Ontario-based operations and:
- Maintain between five and 500 employees;
- Be incorporated and have audited financial statements for a minimum 2 years;
- Have total annual sales of $2M to $20M;
- Already be an exporter, with 10%-15% of total annual sales coming from export markets (if USA sales are what makes your revenues surpass this percentage range, it can be excluded from the calculation);
- Have at least $2M in commercial general liability insurance; and
- Be in an economic ‘priority sector’, including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, building products and construction, clean technology, exportable professional services, ICT including digital media, and life sciences.
Project Eligibility for Export Manager Program Hiring Grants
To be eligible grants through the Export Manager Program, projects must focus exclusively on hiring an Export Manager for the development of international markets. This Export Manager or International Business Development Manager must be employed for a minimum 24 months to receive funding.
Minimum Qualifications for Eligible Hires
In addition to business eligibility criteria, applicants must also ensure that their upcoming new hire qualifies for program participation. This requires:
- A minimum 5 years of professional exporting experience (in a management capacity);
- A minimum employment length of 24 continuous months;
- Not being a current employee;
- Not being a family member of the company’s current management team; and
- A focus on export management (export development plan, certifications, customs, leading team of Sales Managers) rather than generating export sales.
International Business Development Plans
A main focus of the new hire should be to develop an international business plan. These plans should include:
- An overview of the business’ current state;
- An assessment of international business opportunities;
- Detailed assessments of targeted markets;
- An international market expansion plan; and
- A plan to implement the international market development strategy.
Expenses Eligible for EMP Export Grant Support
The only project expense covered through Export Manager Program is up to 50% of salary costs for the new Export Manager or International Business Development Manager hire. To access funding for other costs associated with export market development, contact Mentor Works to review your project.
Next Step: Discuss Your Project with a Government Funding Planner
The Export Manager Program provides a significant amount of funding which, when used effectively, can spur your success in several international markets. Consider using EMP in collaboration with other grants and loans to extend project funding and accelerate your global growth projects.
To further discuss your eligibility for EMP and learn how the application process can be optimized, please contact a Canadian Government Funding Planner.
Posted: November 6, 2017 by Jeff Shepherd. Updated: July 5, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd.