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.
Developing international business operations is critical for the long-term growth of Canadian firms. Yet for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it’s often difficult to independently establish contacts abroad, manage international legislation, and drive business growth. Because of this, it’s becoming more common for SMEs to hire knowledgeable, experienced export support to manage the transition and support international operations.
Luckily, Ontario businesses can receive hiring grants to directly offset the cost of hiring an Export Manager. Through the Export Manager Program (EMP), businesses may access non-repayable government grants to directly offset the salary of export professionals, therefore improving the chances of driving long-term market growth.
The Export Manager Program offers businesses up to 50% of an Export Manager’s salary to a maximum $40,000/year for up to two years.
Applications are currently being accepted under the Export Manager Program. Businesses are advised to apply and receive approval of their application prior to hiring an Export Manager, since applying for current employees is deemed ineligible. To apply, interested parties must submit a comprehensive application including a rationale for the new hire and audited financial statements, among other due diligence information.
Export Manager Program: Export Manager Hiring Grants
The Export Manager Program (formerly Ontario Exporters Fund) is a long-running Ontario government funding program that exists to help SMEs increase access to international export markets. Administered by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), the Export Manager Program is intended to:
- Encourage businesses to develop export strategies;
- Help companies better understand their export capacity and improve their access to foreign markets; and
- Assist companies to achieve their export sales objectives.
Through the program, Ontario SMEs may be able to access up to 50% of a new Export Manager’s salary to a maximum $80,000 in export grants over a span of two years (maximum $40,000 per year).
To participate in the program, businesses and Export Manager hires must both meet certain eligibility factors. These include:
Business Eligibility: Export Manager Program
To be deemed a competitive applicant for the fund, businesses must be:
- In a priority sector of Ontario’s economy, including businesses from advanced manufacturing, aerospace, building products & construction, clean technology, exportable professional services, information and communications technology (ICT) including digital media, and life sciences.
- Incorporated and operating in Ontario for a minimum of two years;
- Maintaining full-time employment for 5-500 employees;
- In possession of at least $2 million in general liability insurance; and
- Driving annual sales of $2 million to $20 million with a minimum 10-50% of revenue coming from export markets.
Export Manager Eligibility Factors
Export Manager candidates are also required to meet a series of basic eligibility criteria to fit the program’s requirements. These stipulate that all hires must:
- Be hired to work in Ontario for a minimum two years;
- Have a minimum five years of professional exporting experience in a management capacity;
- Not be a current employee;
- Not be a family member of the company’s current management team; and
- Focus on export management (export development plan, certifications, customs, leading team of Sales Managers) rather than generating export sales.
How to Apply for Export Manager Program Hiring Grants
To apply for the Export Manager Program, Ontario businesses submit a comprehensive application package that includes:
- An application form;
- Audited financial statements;
- A reference from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG);
- Proof of at least $2 million in general liability insurance; and
- Supporting documentation to support the application, including a rationale for hiring the new employee, supporting details for the new position, export goals, and a business plan.
How is the Export Grant Awarded?
Once approved for funding through the Export Manager Program, participants will receive the first 25% of funding towards their Export Manager’s salary. The other 75% of funding is awarded upon submission of interim/final reports, which identify the amount of progress being made in export markets as direct result of the new Export Manager.
Apply for the Export Manager Program
To access the Export Manager Program, businesses must submit application packages through an Ontario Chamber of Commerce online portal. This can be done independently, or businesses can contact Mentor Works to simplify the process and accelerate application submission.
Posted: September 29, 2017 by Jeff Shepherd. Updated: July 5, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd.